Must say, this roasted pumpkin seed and spinach pesto tossed with tagliatelle is super delicious and wow, what a fabulous color! I had a craving for roasted pumpkin seeds and since I am on a bit of a pesto kick at the moment, I thought I would experiment a little. I had planned to use basil, however realizing I was out, decided to give spinach a try. Damnnnnnn! Delicious. I am convinced this pesto is just as versatile as any other and imagine it would be rather tasty on roasted chicken, or even used as a simple spread on a baguette with goat cheese.
Keep in mind, the pasta should be cooked al dente – meaning it should be tender but still slightly firm to the bite. And don’t rely on the clock before you evaluate it’s doneness. Use your teeth! As with any pasta-pesto combination, be sure to reserve a cup or two of the cooking water before you drain the pot. Since pesto is pretty thick, the water can be added to thin out the sauce AND the starch in the water helps sauce stick to every strand. Good to know!
PASTA WITH ROASTED PUMPKIN SEED & SPINACH PESTO
400 g tagliatelle or other wide, long pasta (reserving 120 ml cooking liquid)
2 handfuls baby spinach leaves (about 50 g)
1/2 cup hulled pumpkin seeds, toasted
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons pumpkin oil
3 tablespoons (or more) extra virgin olive oil
40 g freshly grated Parmesan
sea salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
70 g Roquefort, crumbled (replace with parmesan if you are not a friend of blue cheese)
watercress, as garnish
1. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a frying pan on medium heat, shaking occasionally, until they start to pop. Remove from the heat and set aside on a plate to cool. Once cool, place all of the ingredients in a blender or use a hand mixer and process for 10-15 seconds. Add more olive oil if necessary.
2. Cook the pasta in the boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the cooking liquid and return to the to the saucepan with 2 tablespoons of the reserved cooking liquid. Stir in pesto and toss over low heat until evenly coated, adding more cooking liquid if necessary.
3. Divide pasta among serving bowls and garnish each serving with the crumbled blue cheese and watercress.