Rotini with Spinach-Basil Pesto and Tomatoes
A simple bowl of pasta tossed with homemade spinach and basil pesto and fresh tomatoes makes a satisfying, flavor-filled, meatless dinner. When it comes to pesto, the addition of the tomatoes isn't traditional, but we really enjoy the contrasting color and added flavor. Rotini is our favorite cut of pasta for this dish because it holds the pesto so well, but any ridged or twisted shape would work.
- 10 ounces rotini
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
- 1-1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (or more if desired)
- 1 pint Campari, cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered or halved
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for grating
For the pesto:
- 1 cup basil leaves, loosely packed
- 1-1/2 cups baby spinach leaves, loosely packed
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1-1/2 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.
- Prepare the pesto by adding the basil, spinach, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt and a few grinds of black pepper in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the basil and garlic are finely chopped.
- With the machine running, drizzle in 1/4 cup of the olive oil and process until the mixture is a smooth purée. If you feel the mixture is too thick to coat the pasta easily add a little more olive oil.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and continue cooking until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes longer.
- Add the balsamic vinegar, combine well, then add the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the tomatoes are warmed through and slightly softened, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, remove from the heat and set aside.
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain and return it to the pot. Add the pesto and toss until thoroughly combined. Add the tomato mixture and toss gently.
- To serve, plate individual servings and top with additional grated cheese.
To complete your meal, serve alongside a green salad tossed with an Italian-style vinaigrette.