eggplant parmesan (probably the biggest cheater-face recipe in my repertoire). It's basically your straightforward basil and pine nut pesto, with the addition of thawed, frozen spinach - you could use fresh, but you'd probably need to add more liquid - which makes for a lovely green color while adding some extra iron and other good stuff. It's delicious on linguine or other pasta, but also very nice on polenta and/or steamed or roasted veggies. Best of all: for something that literally comes together in minutes, it has the remarkable ability to make everybody happy!
Linguine Basil and Spinach Pesto
~ 2 packed cups chopped, fresh basil
~ 1/2 lb. frozen spinach, thawed
~ 3-4 tbsp. minced garlic (be bold!)
~ 1/4 cup olive oil
~ 3/4 cup pine nuts
~ 1/3 cup nutritional yeast, vegan parmesan substitute, or a combination
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, oregano
~ Fresh black pepper to taste
~ 1/4-1/3 cup reserved pasta water, as necessary
~ 1 lb. linguine (or other pasta), cooked and drained according to package directions
~ Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, and set aside, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
~ In a skillet, gently toast the pine nuts until they are golden and giving off a nutty, toasty aroma. Remove from heat and set 1/4 cup of them aside.
~ In a blender or food processor, combine basil, spinach, garlic, olive oil, the remaining pine nuts, nooch or parmesan, and seasonings. Puree until you have a smooth, green paste, adding a bit of the pasta water if necessary to achieve the texture you want.
~ Adjust for seasonings, and toss the pesto with the cooked, drained pasta. Stir in the reserved 1/4 cup pine nuts, and serve. This recipe is equally good served hot or at room temperature.