Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Popeye pesto

I wanted to do something different for dinner tonight. I knew we were going to have pasta, but I hadn't quite figured out what to do with it. I thought about a few different things, but was really rather unmotivated to go to the grocery store for any ingredients. So pantry cooking (ok, or freezer and fridge cooking) was how it would have to be. I then remembered the box of frozen chopped spinach sitting in the refrigerator. While I normally prefer fresh vegetables, frozen spinach generally tastes just as good, is a great value, especially when on sale, and saves me the work of cleaning and chopping it! With greens in mind, I decided to get creative with the idea of pesto. I had to be very creative, though, as pine nuts are not things I tend to keep around, and I wanted to make a version that Little Girl would be able to eat (no nuts yet, preventing many-a substitution option).

I started with spinach, some olive oil and sauteed onions in the food processor. (I intentionally omitted garlic - I wasn't sure how Little Girl would like the strong flavor.) I then paused and though "Ok, I need a protein..." I then remembered another of my pantry staples - beans! In went a can of cannelini beans, a sprinkling of salt and a dash of basil (this is a pesto after all!). After a quick spin I had a delicious looking and smelling paste. This would probably be a great spread for toasts or crackers, but I was looking for a more sauce-like consistency. This was achieved with starchy water from the pasta pot. Another spin and the sauce was ready!

This was a momentous occasion in our family. I really do think that this was the first time that all three of us ate the exact same thing for dinner! Usually our meals are similar, but Little Girl's is missing an ingredient or two. Tonight? The same thing! I can't wait for her tastes to continue to expand so we can do this all of the time!!

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