Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lean Green Pesto Pasta

It's that time of month when a new batch of food magazines is due out (delicious, Gourmet Traveller, Vogue Entertaining, etc), and one of my favourite past-times is tagging each one with the recipes I want to try. I estimate that I end up making about 15-20% of the tagged ones...

Not great stats, so it's a good thing that this dish actually ended up on the dining table last tonight. It is a fairly light dish from September delicious magazine, redolent with garlic and almonds, and a vivid green in colour. It is also a good source of calcium - what's not to like?

This is not exactly Project HealthKick material, but please give me credit for trying.

Penne with Spinach and Almond Pesto
serves 4


120g baby spinach
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp almond flakes, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup (120g) fresh low-fat ricotta, crumbled
1/3 cup (25g) grated parmesan
400g penne rigata


1. Blanch spinach in boiling water for 10 seconds. Drain and refresh under cold water, then drain again. Squeeze as much water from the spinach as possible, then chop roughly.

2. Put spinach in a food processor with the garlic, almonds, olive oil, ricotta and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Process until smooth.

3. Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente, about 15 minutes. Drain the pasta but save about 1/4 cup of the cooking water.

4. Add the pesto to the pasta in the pan and mix together.

5. Serve pasta in bowls with remainin parmesan sprinkled on top.

Recipe adapted from delicious (Sept 2009)

Mix the spinach, almonds, garlic, oil and ricotta in a food processor

Lovely green pesto!

Spinach and Almond Pesto with penne


  1. Yay for you to try one recipe out so quickly. It takes me ages to try anything out even though I do tag a lot of recipes.

  2. Woohooo! It looks semi radioactive :) I haven't even started reading delicious yet. It is sitting there mocking me with its GT & Donna Hay friends...

  3. Good on you for trying out the recipes. I love flipping thru them and tagging them but slow to actually cook them.

  4. love the green colour! it's still looks healthy to me :)

  5. Woah that colour is so vibrant! Something that green can only mean excellent healthy things!

  6. I say green = healthy regardless of what's inside! Actually it is a pretty healthy meal, with the spinach and low fat ricotta!

  7. That pesto looks amazing!! Love that deep, rich green colour

  8. It's a really good idea trying to re-create traditional recipes at a lighter form. I should start applying that to my daily cooking! Loved the recipe

  9. This looks yummy and healthy! I love ricotta, and the parmesan makes it cheese perfection.

  10. hi Anh - notice how I chose the easiest recipe. It was very good, regardless.

    hi shez - I find I have to flick through the mags as soon as I get them. Otherwise I forget they are there and I end up buying it again...

    hi Ellie - all my magazines are tagged so they look like they're moulting, lol!

    hi Betty - I like to think it's healthy, and it does have low-fat ricotta, so yes it is!

    hi Forager - I tried to tone done the colour in the photos but it looked weird. So they are au naturel.

    hi Rilsta - yes, I'm convinced it's ok now. So the recipe is on the 'eat again' list!

    hi FFichiban - it looks great, doesn't it? A bit surprisng since it's just spinach!

    hi Food lover - that's what I think. There must be a way to eat better but still enjoy it.

    hi Arwen - ooh, I love ricotta so much, and the low-fat version from Woolies is pretty tasty. Must try and use it more often.