Spinach Pesto Pasta
Recipe type: main dish
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 (Makes 2 cups of pesto sauce)
This pesto sauce is delicious on pasta, fish, chicken, risotto, or bruschetta. The recipe is flexible, so feel free to substitute with the ingredients that you have on hand. This recipe is adapted from my friend Yael.
  • 1 lb. pasta, like dried spaghetti or fresh tubular pasta
  • 6 ounces of pea tendrils (about 7 cups) or 1 bunch of leafy greens like spinach, fava bean tendrils or broccoli rabe
  • 2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts (or any nut such as walnuts)
  • 5 extra large fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ⅔ c. of pasta water (or broth)
  • A few grinds of pepper
  • A large pinch of salt
  • Optional for the pesto sauce—¼ onion, chopped and 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Optional mix-in's for the pasta dish: cooked chicken, shrimp, peas, green beans, or asparagus.
  • Toppings for the pasta dish: Parmesan cheese and pine nuts
  1. Boil pea tendrils in a large pot of salted water for 2-3 minutes until tender. Drain in a colander, squeeze out excess water, and set aside to cool a little.
  2. Once the pea tendrils and water are removed from the pot, use the same pot to cook the pasta. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Reserve a little more than ½ c. pasta water. Drain and return pasta to the pot.
  3. Optional- sauté onion and garlic in a little olive oil until soft. Set aside.
  4. While the pasta is cooking, make the pesto sauce. Place the following ingredients in a blender: pine nuts, basil leaves, parmesan cheese, olive oil, cooked pea tendrils, ⅓ cup pasta water, salt, pepper, and optional cooked onion and garlic. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed. Thin with more pasta water to desired consistency. I usually use about ½ cup pasta water, but it depends on how many leafy greens you have.
  5. Optional: add cooked chicken, shrimp or vegetables to the pot with the cooked pasta.
  6. Pour the pesto sauce on the pasta and toss gently. Serve warm.
  7. Top with generous sprinkles of parmesan cheese and pine nuts.
The pesto recipe can easily be doubled. I like to freeze extra sauce to use later. Another tasty variation is to put a little lemon zest in the pea tendril pesto sauce.
Recipe by Dana's Table at https://danastable.com/pea-tendril-pesto-pasta/