This pesto has a wonderful smokiness and intense green color, and it doesn’t blacken easily. There’s only a touch of basil, but lots of baby spinach. The predominance of spinach makes for a milder, more subtle green flavor than pesto made entirely with basil. The smoked almonds and pecorino romano add a strong, salty bite. Together, they eliminate the need for added salt.
You can add this to any pasta dish, or it’s brilliant as a topping for a grilled chicken breast.
Spinach and Smoked Almond Pesto
1/4 c smoked almonds
3 cups tightly packed baby spinach leaves
1/4 c grated pecorino romano cheese
1/4 + 2 tbls extra-virgin olive oil
12 basil leaves
1 – 1/2 lbs cooked pasta
In a food processor, grind the almonds to a fine powder before adding other ingredients. Add spinach and basil and pulse until pulverized
Add olive oil and grated cheese and continue processing until puree consistency.
Pour pesto into the bottom of a large mixing bowl, then dilute with a couple tablespoons of hot pasta water. Add hot pasta on top and toss. Serve with additional grated cheese at the table.