• 1/3 cup blanched almonds
  • 8 ounces fresh spinach
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, split in half
  • 1/3 cup tightly packed Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt
  • freshly milled black pepper
  • 1 cup freshly grated Sardo cheese or 1/2 cup Romano and 1/2 cup Parmigiano cheese
  • 1 lb farfalle (bow pasta)
Farfalle con Pesto di Spinaci

This classic Italian dish can be made and enjoyed year round.

Preparation:

1 – To toast almonds, place them on a cookie sheet and toast on center rack of pre-heated 350 F oven for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. Place in food processor fitted with metal blade. Run machine nonstop until coarsely chopped. Set aside.

2 – Wash spinach several times in lukewarm water. Remove stems. Blot leaves dry with paper towel and snip into 1-inch pieces; set aside.

3 – In a small saucepan, melt 3 tbsp butter over low heat. Add scallions and garlic and cook, covered, until tender, about 3 minutes.

4 – Place scallion-garlic mixture in food processor fitted with metal blade. Add spinach, parsley, olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper. Turn machine on and run nonstop for 30 seconds. Stop machine once or twice and scrape down inside of work bowl with a rubber spatula. Run machine until you have a smooth, thick paste. Transfer to a bowl and blend in Sardo cheese or Romano-Parmigiano mixture with a fork.

5 – Cook pasta in 6 quarts boiling water with 1 tbsp salt until al dente. Before draining pasta, take about 1/2 cup of pasta water and set aside. Drain pasta in colander, transfer to a bowl containing 1 tbsp softened butter and toss quickly. Toss half of the pesto sauce and half of the almonds with pasta. Add about 6 tbsp of the pasta water and toss. Add remaining pesto sauce and toss well again. Garnish with remaining almonds and serve with additional freshly grated cheese.

Serves 4 to 6