Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Macaroni in spinach-pumpkin seeds pesto

Although authentic pesto sauce calls for pine nuts & basil, I have tried creating pesto using Thai Basil (it has a strong aroma), Chinese spinach (Phuay Leng) & various seeds like pumpkin seeds, cashews & almonds. Whatever combo I tried became a huge hit at home. My hubby felt the aroma is very strong for Thai Basil but loved eating them. My son who is a big fan of pasta loves to eat this pesto sauce too (I'm happy that this way some leafy vegetables make way to his stomach :p)


 Ingredients: (Will serve 2-3)
Macaroni: 2 cups
Salt: According to taste
Capsicum: 1/2 cup (cut into 1 cm squares)
Olive oil: 1 tsp
Parmesan cheese: 1 tbsp (optional)

For pesto sauce:
Spinach : 1 bunch (around 200gms)
Pumpkin seeds: 2 tbsp
Garlic: 2 cloves
Green chillies: 2 nos (Authentic pesto sauce doesn't call for it, but to match our taste buds I add!)
Parmesan cheese: 1 tbsp (it is better to add it, if you can't find it add more of olive oil)
Olive oil: 2 tbsp
Salt: According to taste

Method:
  • Cook macaroni according to the package instructions. Drain the water & keep aside 1 cup of the boiled water.
Sauce preparation:
  • Blanch the spinach.Make a smooth paste of pumpkin seeds, blanched spinach, garlic, green chillies, Parmesan cheese, olive oil & salt. Finally add the lemon juice & keep it aside.
  • Heat  oil in a broad pan. When oil is hot, throw in the capsicum & cook on a medium-high heat for 2-3 mins. When the capsicum is cooked & yet firm, add the spinach sauce, cooked pasta & 1/2 cup of water. Mix them gently & cook on a low heat for 3-4mins. Adjust the salt (note: both the cooked pasta & the sauce has salt in it).
  • Finally garnish it with cheese & serve hot.

Notes:
  • Refer this if you are blanching the spinach for the first time.
  • Pumpkin seeds could be replaced with cashew nuts, almonds, walnuts or pine nuts.