This recipe has evolved in various green stages. Initially it was just a parsley and garlic based pesto, then I added the spinach and lemon, the cottage cheese and soaked almonds came last. I’m not sure about the original rational behind cottage cheese and almonds but I do know it lends an ethereal lightness to the immense creaminess of the pesto. This recipe makes quite a bit of pesto but it keeps well for 4-5 days if protected with a thin layer of olive oil in the fridge. With this pesto (and to be honest, all types of pesto that I like to make), the more garlic the better is my motto. I recognize this isn’t always a desired quality for everyone making this pasta and I have suggested a less garlicky amount in the recipe. Add some extra lemon juice and salt to taste, serve slightly chilled with lightly steamed pieces of asparagus and fresh sweet peas. This also makes an excellent take to work lunch, just make sure that afterwards you have a toothbrush or extremely powerful breath mint within easy reach.
1 whole head of flat leaf Italian parsley, stems removed
5 cups of raw spinach
1 cup of fresh basil
Juice of 1 lemon
1-3 garlic cloves (I like 3, but I freely admit that this will make the recipe very garlicky)
1/3 cup fruity olive oil
1/3 cup 2% cottage cheese
1/3 cup slivered almonds without skin, soaked in hot water for 1/2 an hour
1/2 cup grated Reggiano, Pecorino Pepato, Grana Padano, Asiago… (in other words, your favourite aged grating cheese that has some sharpness to it)
Freshly cracked pepper and salt to taste
Dried chilis and extra cheese, for adding at the table
1. Combine all of the above, minus the chilis, in the blender and blitz until smooth. The spinach should be added in smaller batches, what looks like a lot blends down to a much smaller quantity of pesto.
2. Boil the pasta of your choice in salted water until al dente. Reserve about a 1/2 of a cup of the cooking liquid and add to hot pasta and green sauce, stirring until the sauce thickens and the pasta is evenly coated. Serve with dried chilis and extra cheese, if desired.
This song is so quiet and pretty, perfect for those days when everything else in the world seems unthinkably large and daunting. The loud beginnings of spring in Vancouver have begun, cherry and plum blossoms have burst into the landscape and people are playing beach volleyball in their bathing suits at Kits beach. I always feel so overwhelmed in the springtime, as if I’m having difficulty shaking off the grey and rainy winter blanket that is receding with each passing day. I thrive on quiet and pretty albums like The Radio Dept.’s Pet Grief during early spring in order to stay in hibernation just a little bit longer.
The Radio Dept. – A Window