Fusilli with Spinach Puree

February 24, 2008 at 5:28 pm (Dark leafy greens, Italian, Jack Bishop, Pasta, Quick weeknight recipe, Starches, Tofu, unrated)

This brilliant green vaguely pesto-like sauce is based on a recipe from Jack Bishop’s Italian Vegetarian Cookbook.  If you have a food processor it’s extremely simple and fast to make.

Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot for cooking

  • 10 ounces of whole-wheat fusilli pasta.

Combine in the work bowl of a food processor:

  • 2 Tbs pine nuts, toasted (be very careful not to burn them at all!)
  • 8 ounces flat-leaf spinach (about 3 cups tightly packed leaves), washed. Shake them to remove excess water but do not dry them.
  • 2 medium garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese (or stir in afterwards for the best texture)
  • 1/4? salt (heaping if no parmigiano is used)

My notes:

If your pasta is hot, just toss and serve. Otherwise, you can eat the sauce cold on the pasta but I prefer to briefly warm it in a small saucepan or the microwave first.

I like the bright green color and fresh flavor of this sauce. The ricotta adds creaminess and helps reduce the oil content so it’s less greasy than typical pestos. I’ve used tofu in place of the ricotta.  It’s different but I like it.  Both version have  a nice, creamy, but pleasantly rough texture. The flavor is mild (even a bit on the bland side–perhaps a little lemon juice would be good?). If you don’t have pine nuts you can substitute walnuts.

I think this recipe makes about 1.5 cups, and you need about 1/3 cup sauce for a big bowl of pasta.  This recipe makes a nice main dish but really needs a side as well.  I like to serve it with a chickpea or fava bean and fruit salad.


  1. Jenn said,


    I’m a new reader of your blog, a vegetarian living in Argentina, so I know of the challenges of finding ingredients from home…although we seem to be missing different ingredients for the most part.

    Anyway, I’m getting lots of new ideas from you, thanks! I tried this pesto the other night, and agree, it needed something else. I went with your lemon (maybe 3 tsp?), and it did the trick!


  2. captious said,

    Glad to hear that the recipe turned out well once you added the lemon. I haven’t made this in a long time, but now that spring is finally here, I will try making it again.

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