Spinach Poblano Pesto Sauce

spinach-poblano pesto
Recipe by Christina Provo

ingredients ~

12 ounces farfalle
1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, cooked according to directions, omitting seasoning, drained and pressed
2 poblano peppers, charred on a skillet or under the broiler, peeled, deveined and seeded
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cashews
3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
A shake white pepper

optional ingredients ~

Cubed, cooked meat
Raw shrimp
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra

directions ~
  1. Heat a large pot of water to a boil with a teaspoon of salt. When water boils, cook pasta for 2 minutes less than recommended amount of time for al dente (pasta will continue to cook when added to skillet).

  2. Meanwhile, place spinach, poblano peppers, garlic cloves, and cashews in a blender or food processor. Add salt and pepper plus around half of the chicken broth. Pulse to combine, using a spatula to scrape down the sides, adding more chicken broth as needed until the mixture is roughly blended together. Slowly stream in olive oil and continue to pulse/blend until the pesto is cohesive. Taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly.

  3. For optional ingredients: In a large skillet, heat olive oil medium heat and add the cooked meat and saute until heated thoroughly. For shrimp, time it so the pasta is ready shortly after adding the shrimp to the skillet, as it cooks quickly. Just before the shrimp turns pink, dump in the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of pasta water. Toss both the pasta and meat/fish together, then add pesto and toss to combine thoroughly. Add about 1/2 cup pasta water, and more as needed to thin out the consistency of the sauce to create a smooth texture.

  4. Remove skillet from heat. Serve the pasta with a bit of olive oil drizzled on top. For the presentation factor, cook the shrimp separately and place on top, or thin the pesto out with pasta water in the skillet, sans pasta and meat, then drizzle it over cooked pasta.