Spinach Pesto (return of the green victories)

I love fast recipes and this one wins. Hands down it wins because it is flavoursome, healthy and the Tot DEVOURED it. 

I've never actually made pesto before. This is strange given that I lived with Italians in my 20s when I was dating a guy from the south of Italy who wooed me with fantastic risottos and fiery rows about the brilliance of Ferrari vs Maclaren. It was doomed sadly for more reasons than our differing opinions on racing brilliance but my love for pesto wasn't so when I came across this Spinach and Walnut Pesto from Riverford, I had to try it. 

The recipe called for less parmesan than I used and more spinach to be leftover to wilt in later. Well, the Tot and I are cheese fiends and she would probably have drawn the line at whole leaves of spinach floating around (ask me how I know) so I chose to add the second half of spinach in later for a light zuzz. It came out small enough to pass her radar but large enough to stick to the spaghetti. 



  • 400g wholewheat spaghetti
  • 30g walnut pieces & 20g pine nuts,
  • toasted in a dry frying pan for 1 min
  • 50g fresh basil leaves, plus a few extra
  • for garnishing
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • zest of ½ & juice of 1 lemon
  • 200g spinach, tough stalks removed
  • 100g grated parmesan or pecorino
  • 100ml good olive oil


  1. Boil the spaghetti in salted water for 10 mins. While it is cooking, put the walnuts, pine nuts, basil, garlic, nutmeg, lemon zest and juice, half the spinach and half the parmesan in a food processor. Blitz, gradually pouring in the oil until it forms a rough paste.
  2. Season to taste.
  3. Roughly chop the rest of the spinach leaves if they’re large.
  4. Drain the cooked pasta, keeping a ladle of the pasta cooking water.
  5. Toss the pasta with the rest of the spinach, the pasta cooking water and enough pesto
  6. to coat. Toss together over a low heat to warm through and wilt the spinach.
  7. Stir in the rest of the parmesan, check the seasoning and serve, garnished with a few basil leaves.