I love pesto. But my husband does not. So it is one of those things I make for myself, and I only make him eat it occasionally. This summer I have been keeping a small bowl of traditional basil pesto in the frig and I have been enjoying it smeared on toasted Udi’s or Canyon Bakehouse bread with a slice of fresh mozzarella and a slice or two of tomato. So delicious.
I had made some basil pesto earlier this week because my basil plants needed trimming and when I was digging around for something for lunch today, I found some leftover brown rice penne. So I lightly heated up the pasta (add a bit of water and put a lid loosely on it – I’ve found that it helps to reheat leftover gluten free pasta slightly, even if eating it cold or room temperature) and stirred in a big spoonful of pesto. Then I sliced up some cherry tomatoes and added a few little chunks of fresh mozzarella, salt and fresh ground pepper. What a delicious lunch!
But I have also been known to make other types of pesto. A while back I made sun-dried tomato and spinach pesto. And when I saw Linda’s Pesto Challenge over at The Gluten Free Homemaker, I knew I needed to post this recipe since it has been languishing in my “future posts” folder for about six weeks now. I initially made this back when I was still harvesting a lot of spinach. No spinach growing right now, but it is almost time to plant spinach for a fall harvest.
Sun Dried Tomato and Spinach Pesto and Pasta
Inspired by all, but an original recipe by Renee
1 pound bag of brown rice penne *
3 cups fresh spinach, divided
4 oz sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
3 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1-15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1-15 oz. can artichoke hearts in water, drained and coarsely chopped *
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
Cook pasta according to directions. If you are making gluten free pasta, be sure to use a lot of water, more than you would for regular pasta. And be sure to stir the pasta frequently when you begin cooking it as it can clump together easily. Drain pasta. (Drain pasta into a colander with the remaining spinach in it if you prefer your spinach to be wilted.)
In a food processor, combine 1 cup of spinach leaves, tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse it while slowly adding enough olive oil until it is of a pesto consistency. Taste and adjust according to your preference.
Stir pesto into warm pasta and remaining 2 cups of spinach leaves. Add chickpeas and artichoke hearts and top with crumbled goat cheese. Easy, delicious and nutritious!
* My preferred gluten free pasta is Trader Joe’s brown rice pasta. For this dish I used the penne but you could use any shape. My other favorite pasta is Tinkyada, which may be the same as Trader Joe’s pasta, just under a different label.
* I prefer the artichoke hearts that are canned in water, not oil. I typically find them at Trader Joe’s. And depending on what I am making with them, I will buy the water or oil.
**This post is linked to The Gluten Free Homemaker’s Pesto Challenge on Gluten Free Wednesdays and Simply Sugar and Gluten Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.** And be sure to check out past Gluten Free Wednesday pesto posts here.