Make the Basics, Part II: Spring Pesto

Well, things are greening up around these parts given a solid week of wetness, with more of the same in the forecast. The lack of sun is doing little for growth in our garden. I was trying to figure out something to make out of pretty much the only two things we have in abundance right now—spinach and mint.

I decided a spring pesto could be interesting. And it was! The taste is pure spring and the intense green color is enough to cheer up even the dreariest of days. I put it on pasta with fiddleheads and Maine shrimp, but it would be great liberally drizzled on top of a creamy soup or on grilled or roasted veggies. Because the flavor isn’t nearly as intense as a basil pesto, you can use a lot more than you would traditional pesto. This recipes makes about a half cup.

I did this in a food processor because I wanted it to be a uniform, smooth texture (and I was in a rush), but you could also do it the traditional way with mortar and pestle, which takes longer but produces a more intense flavor.

Spring Pesto

4 cups tightly packed spinach
1 large handful mint leaves (about 30)
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 c. good quality extra-virgin olive oil
pinch sea salt
3 tablespoons parmesan

Put all ingredients except cheese in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Stir in cheese at end. If using mortar and pestle, make a paste of all ingredients except oil and then drizzle in oil in a steady stream while constantly stirring.

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