Spring Baby Artichoke and Spinach Pesto Pasta
This fresh and green pasta is perfect for spring and vegetarian-friendly!
- 1 pound penne rigate pasta
- 4 cups baby spinach (packed), divided
- 1/4 cup shelled pistachios or whole almonds, toasted
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock, divided
- 1/3-1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
- A few grates of fresh nutmeg
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
- 1 pound fresh or frozen artichoke hearts (defrosted, if frozen)
- 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- Place a large pot of water over high heat to boil. When the water reaches a bubble, salt it and drop in the pasta. Cook to al dente, according to the package directions. Just before draining, reserve a large mugful of the starchy cooking water. Drain the pasta and reserve.
- While the pasta is cooking, combine half of the spinach with the nuts, stock, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, nutmeg, lemon zest and juice, 1/2 cup of the stock and some salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to chop everything up, then stream in about 1/4 cup EVOO (eyeball it) with the machine running. Ask a grown-up helper (GH) for help with the food processor, if you need it. Reserve.
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat with two turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the artichokes and garlic to the pan and cook until slightly golden. Add the remaining 1/2 cup stock and cook until tender, 4-5 minutes.
- Add the pasta, pesto, reserved cooking water (about 1 cup) and the remaining spinach to the pan and toss to combine and wilt the spinach, 2-3 minutes. Serve warm with an extra sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.