Spinach Pesto with Maccheroni al Ferretto
Updated: Mar 10
Someone came home yesterday with a pack of strange looking pasta, challenging me to do something original with it. I instantly thought of green pesto but I already posted about the traditional green pesto in the past. I needed to dug deeper and came up with this.
Spinach pesto, replacing the pine seeds with walnuts, which makes it also more affordable. Where we live, pine seeds are extremely expensive.
You can find the traditional green pesto recipe in the following link:
Maccheroni al Ferretto is what we will be using in this recipe.
This pasta is made with semolina flour and water.
Its origin is from the southern Calabrian region of Italy.
They used to be made by hand, featuring a singular shape, rolling it over a wire or stick. A tool called ferretto.
I replace the basil with spinach which is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants.
Spinach has many health benefits which might help preventing some cancers, helps with eye health and reduces blood pressure levels.
(I am not a doctor, nor am I a nutritionist, I find this information based on my own research)
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable originating from Persia, we used to eat it cooked when I grew up, only later it became popular in salads. Spinach makes you strong like Popeye they used to say, just to convince me finishing what was left on my plate.
Walnuts instead of pine seeds, basically to save some cash. We love pine seeds but on the Island (Canary Islands) some products are out of reach, or they are just not for everyone's pocket. They are extremely expensive (as I already mentioned), however I needed to experiment with something different. I used a handful of these in today's recipe.
Here are 10 science based health benefits of walnuts:
▪️Rich in antioxidants
▪️Super plant source of Omega-3s
▪️May decrease inflammation
▪️Promotes a healthy gut
▪️May reduce risk of some cancers
▪️Helps with weight control
▪️May help with type 2 diabetes
▪️Lowering of blood pressure
▪️Supports healthy aging
▪️Good brain function
Garlic, I absolutely love it... when I was younger I used to avoid it for obvious reasons.
Today I use it daily as a natural medicine and it's so rich in flavor.
For thousands of years, garlic was believed to have medicinal properties.
Today, science has confirmed this.
Grana Padano, to replace Parmesan cheese.
This is a hard Italian cheese, similar to Parmesan cheese.
It originates from the Po river valley in North Italy, it was produced by monks in the 12th century. This cheese, along with others (including Parmesan cheese) is protected under EU law as PDO ( Protected designation of origin). The producers have strict geographical boundaries and aging guidelines. This impacts the price and flavor of their products.
Last but not least, unmissable is the extra virgin olive oil.
I love to dip warm bread in it with some salt and pepper.
Extra virgin olive oil is an important cooking oil in countries surrounding the Mediterranean.
The top five producers are Spain (were I find myself), Morocco, Turkey, Greece and Italy.
Did you know that the Spartans and other Greeks used this oil to rub themselves while exercising in the gymnasium?
Find the ingredients for this delicious pesto version in the following image.
Cook off the pasta and keep some of the water when you are ready, to use it while warming up the dish in a fry pan afterwards. Your pasta will be warm but your pesto won't be. Fry some mushrooms in olive oil for a few minutes, add salt and pepper.
Now place the spinach pesto and pasta on top and stir gently on a low heat, use the water from the pasta to ease the process. Try not to destroy the pasta which will be delicate.
Another great idea is to serve this with roasted cherry tomatoes instead of mushrooms, you might like a recipe with these here:
Have you tried this recipe, please let me know and don't forget to push the like button, why not subscribe and get notified for future blog posts?