Friday, January 20, 2012

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Ground Turkey Meatballs

My family really enjoyed this recipe I stumbled across.
Instead of the traditional basil and pine nut pesto, this one is made from spinach and walnuts - along with my all time favorite (manchego) cheese.

Spinach Pesto
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
2-3 garlic cloves
1/4 c. toasted walnuts (you can microwave them on a ceramic plate for 2-3 minutes)
1/4 c. grated manchego cheese (found at Costco, but parmesan cheese can be substituted)
1/8 t. salt
olive oil
freshly ground pepper

With a knife, roughly chop garlic and place in a food processor.  Add the walnuts and pulse a few times.
Coarsely chop the spinach, and add to processor and pulse a few times.
Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture comes together.
Remove the pesto from the food processor and add the cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and stir to combine.

Stir over hot pasta using a little pasta water to loosen the sauce slightly if needed.

Turkey Meatballs
1 lb. ground turkey meat
2 t. finely chopped garlic
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
1/4 c. finely chopped red or yellow bell pepper
1/2 c. chopped fresh spinach
1/4 c. grated manchego cheese
salt and black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and roll into golf sized balls.
Heat 1 T. olive oil in the bottom of a wok or frying pan.
Place meatballs in oil, and cook thoroughly.
Remove from heat and add to hot pasta and pesto sauce.

Here's a picture of manchego cheese - I get it from Costco.  It comes from Spain and it is my all-time favorite cheese - a small slice on a day when I need a treat.  It is absolutely amazing when paired with walnuts, and blueberries or pears.

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