Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 18 minutes
This veggie-packed recipe is by Kimberly Morales of Sacramento, who blogs at www.poorgirleatswell.com
8 ounces of your favorite pasta
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound baby artichokes (or one 14-ounce container of artichoke hearts)
3 cups baby spinach leaves, packed
1/2 cups shelled pistachios
3 large cloves of garlic
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
1 cup baby peas (frozen is fine)
1 cup chopped tomatoes
Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and set aside. Cut the stems from the artichokes, leaving about 1/2 inch exposed. Next, trim about 1/2 inch off the top of the artichoke. Remove the first 2-3 layers of leaves and slice in half lengthwise. If they're bigger baby artichokes, cut into quarters. There probably won't be much of an actual choke, but if you do see some, remove gently with a paring knife. Once the artichokes have been prepped, squeeze on a few drops of lemon juice so that they don't become discolored.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the artichokes and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Let them cook for 6-7 minutes, until browned and tender. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for a couple of minutes.
When the artichokes have cooled some, combine them with the spinach, pistachios, garlic, lemon juice, cheese and remaining olive oil in a blender (or immersion blender cup). Purée until completely smooth. Check for seasoning and adjust according to taste with some salt and pepper.
Add about 1/3 cup of pesto to the cooked pasta and mix well. Add the peas and tomatoes and fold in gently. If you like a lot of sauce, add a couple more tablespoons of pesto until you have the desired consistency. Sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese and some freshly ground black pepper. Serve with a crisp salad and warm crusty bread, and enjoy!
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