Spinach Pecan Pesto Sauce

Penne with Spinach Pecan Pesto Sauce

On some summer days, the heat and humidity can be so unbearable that the mere thought of heating up the kitchen to make dinner can be enough to propel you towards the drawer hiding the take-out menus. Especially if you're like me, living on the top floor of an apartment building in an apartment without air-conditioning!

This spinach pesto recipe is very similar to the one I used for the Farfalle with Spinach Pesto, Feta, and Cherry Tomatoes that I made back when I was living in Cleveland. (By "very similar" I really mean "nearly exactly the same, just minus the lemon." Thankfully, the recipe didn't suffer from the lemon's absence.) The preparation of this pesto sauce is so quick and simple that you can have it ready by the time the pasta has finished cooking.

Penne with Spinach Pecan Pesto Sauce

Now that I think about it, I see how versatile this spinach pesto is and how many ways you can tweak the pesto recipe to include the ingredients you prefer. Arugula, perhaps? Walnuts? Traditional basil with pine nuts? The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

I tossed this Spinach Pecan Pesto Sauce with freshly cooked penne and had myself a hot meal, but you could easily chill the pasta after tossing with the sauce for a cold pesto pasta salad. If you add chicken, you can create a more substantial dish. Leftover chicken or chopped rotisserie chicken would work extremely well here and would help keep the actually cooking to a bare minimum. And, a pesto pasta salad is a perfect dish to pack up to serve while on a picnic in the park or on the beach. You could even use the pesto sauce as an accompaniment to grilled salmon or as a spread on your favorite sandwich instead of mayonnaise.

What's your favorite "it's too hot to cook" meal?

Spinach Pecan Pesto Sauce - Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups - Printable Recipe

  • 1 large bunch spinach, trimmed and washed thoroughly
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Handful whole pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Place all of the ingredients with 1/2 cup of the olive oil in a blender. Blend.

  2. Gradually drizzle in the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil until the pesto is thick and smooth.

Pesto on Foodista

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