August 21, 2010

Shells with Spinach Pesto & Mushrooms

This is easier to make than you think.  It helps to have a food processor but a blender works just fine.  It's very tasty, too.

My tip:  Use FRESH ingredients.  Life is BETTER with fresh veggies; no matter what the cost.  Lesson learned from using frozen veggies.

Shells with Spinach Pesto & Mushrooms
Pesto
2 cups fresh spinach leaves    
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts    
4 garlic cloves
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Pasta
1 box medium shells    
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms  
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red pepper   
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper   
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

1. Combine spinach, basil, pine nuts and garlic in blender; mix well.  Gradually add oil, blending until thickened, set aside.
2. Meanwhile, cook shells, drain, reserve 1/2-cup pasta water.  Return pasta to pot.
3. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-heat.  Add mushrooms, onion and red pepper, cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add pesto and vegetable mixture to hot shells.  Toss, adding reserved pasta water to desired consistency.  Transfer to serving platter, top with cheese and remaining pine nuts.
Tip: To toast pine nuts; heat in small saucepan over medium-heat for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.



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