Pasta with Spinach Pesto

Circle B Kitchen

1 lb pasta (spaghetti, penne, fettuccine or linguini)

Coarse salt and ground pepper

1 10-oz pkg of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, plus more for serving

1 garlic clove

1 teaspoon grated zest plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ cup olive oil

Optional, 4 oz soft goat cheese

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente (I usually cook it 1 minute less than the package directs). Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

While the pasta is cooking, place the spinach, parmesan, 2 tablespoons pine nuts, garlic, lemon zest and juice in a food processor or blender. Process until a paste forms. With the motor running, add oil and ¼ cup cold water, and process until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Add to the pasta and toss, adding reserved pasta water a little at a time until the sauce is thinned slightly and coats the pasta.

If desired, stir in the goat cheese when you add the pesto to the pasta.

Serve, sprinkled with additional Parmesan and nuts.