Another harried weeknight, another bowl of pasta covered in green crap.
Said green crap being yet more spinach, this time in the form of a spinach-walnut pesto.
Since I wasn’t worried about being a tight-ass tonight, I went buck nutty and decided to make this the pasta equivalent of a spinach salad and threw in some crumbled bacon and blue cheese. Sometimes it’s GOOD to be buck nutty, and this pasta is excellent medication for the condition, like culinary Prozac but with fewer side effects.
The only downside was the total lack of leftovers, because I snarfed down two bowls of this shit without a second thought. What else could I do? There was gorgonzola. GORGONZOLA, people.
The pesto itself was a speedy little affair, as pesto is wont to be. Garlic, walnuts, a splash of white balsamic and spinach went for a deadly ride in the FoPro, and were then doused with olive oil until they formed a thick paste; a lovely shade of pale green.
Watch out with the garlic in this bad boy if you’re using baby spinach like I did – too much will be way too assertive for the more delicate flavor of baby spinach. Unless you’re like me and don’t mind being knocked on your ass by garlic, in which case go to town.
I set the finished pesto aside while I rendered some bacon and put water on for the pasta. All I can say is, thank god there was no crusty bread in the house, or the pesto never would have made it through the end of dinner preparation. I may have momentarily contemplated spreading some on a slice of whole wheat just to have a vehicle for cramming it into my waiting maw, but I restrained myself.
While the bacon splattered me with hot grease and the water came up to temperature, I crumbled some gorgonzola so it would be ready for me. It was shockingly good for bodega gorgonzola. This should give you some idea of the neighborhood I live in: there’s bodega gorgonzola. That explains my mortgage. Yes, I pay out the ass so I can buy decent blue cheese at the bodega along with my iced tea and bag of gummy cola bottles.
I know there’s really no way to crumble blue cheese except with your fingers; I guess I could have fooled with some forks, but it would have been just that – fooling. My question: what do you do about the cheese stink? I mean, I love to eat it, but I don’t necessarily want my hands to smell like it hours later. This shit CLINGS, and you have to go all OCD and wash your hands ten zillion times in scalding water before they start to smell less like old socks.
Note that I am allowed to be cavalier about being OCD because I am myself a barely contained wackjob.
When the pasta was done, I tossed it with a healthy amount of pesto along with a bit of the pasta cooking water, to loosen things up. In went most of the bacon and most of the gorgonzola.
Why did I hold back on some of the add-ins? Because I have become the Ultimate Anal Foodblogger: yes, I art-directed my bacon.
I can explain. See, if I’d just tossed EVERYTHING together, the bacon and cheese would have gotten all covered in the pesto and everything would have looked like a green mess. So I saved some, so I could dot the top of the pasta. It’s not like I used tweezers or anything, and it doesn’t make up for my shitty lighting…also, I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to TELL you that I did it, because you’re supposed to think my pasta looks this carefree naturally. Whoops.
In the end, it doesn’t matter, right? The only thing that matters is that this tasted really, really good, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to have it again for dinner tomorrow night. It really was like a spinach salad; all the flavors came through amazingly well. Delicate spinach with a slight bite, earthy walnuts, pops of salty bacon and pungent cheese like little firecrackers tossed in the pasta, with a background note of garlic (which was tamed when tossed with the hot pasta) and the peppery olive oil I used in the pesto.
I won’t be art directing my cheese in the future, because I find I prefer it when my food just looks like what it looks like. Also I felt like a giant dork, but mostly that first part. But I will be making this again, especially once pizza grilling time is here. Oh, yes.
Spinach- Walnut Pesto
2 c. lightly packed baby spinach (or regular, if you prefer)
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar (good stuff, keep some on hand)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Put the first 4 ingredients and the salt in the FoPro and whiz until finely chopped.
With the FoPro running, pour in the olive oil until you have a thick, light green paste; the amount will vary depending on exactly how much spinach you’ve used, since that measurement isn’t exact. Just go by the texture.