Healthy Homemade Pasta with Spinach Almond Pesto

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How to Make Healthy Homemade Pasta

When Recipe Redux made this month an oscar challenge I immediately knew what I wanted to make. They asked us to take a dish from a film we saw and create a healthier, but equally tasty version.

I fell in love with Silver Linings Playbook

Not just because of Bradley Cooper – even though my crush on him began long ago when he was on Alias. Remember that show? Jennifer Garner starred in it? Didn’t even notice her.

Not just because they nailed the Philly experience. Ahh home. Crazy Eagles fans.

Mostly because of the Italian household. The food. The cooking. When Pat’s mom would say each weekend that she would make “homemades” for the game, it felt like home.

My family calls them “homemaders,” close enough. Can’t beat them. My Grandmother’s favorite meal – she always said she would eat them every night. She taught me how to make homemaders long, long ago when I was a little girl. While super tasty, when made the traditional way, they aren’t winning awards in the healthy category. I refuse to give up my heritage foods, so I love recreating them.

Food nourishes us on lots of levels

Yep, we need the fiber, nutrients and minerals. But just as important, we need the love. In my family food nourishes the soul, too. When a recipe works on all those levels, it’s a win in my book. Here’s the healthy homemade pasta dish I came up with. A tribute to my family and the movie, food for the body and the soul. I hope you love it as much as I do.

For the love of Homemade Pasta with Spinach Almond Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

Homemade Pasta with Spinach Almond Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Ingredients
Total Ingredients Needed
  • 5 ounce bag spinach
  • 8 plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 cup almonds (raw, unsalted, toasted)
  • ¾ cup egg whites
  • 2¾ cup plus 2 tbsp - 3 cups whole grain spelt flour
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp pecorino Romano cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ⅛ - ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • Coarse salt and black pepper
Ingredients For 1 lb Pasta
  • ¾ cup egg whites
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2¾ cup plus 2 tbsp - 3 cups spelt flour
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
Ingredients for Spinach Pesto
  • 4 cups spinach
  • ½ cup almonds (raw, unsalted)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp pecorino Romano cheese (or vegan rice cheese)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ⅛ - ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup high quality extra virgin olive oil
Ingredients for Roasted Tomatoes
  • 8 plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper
Instructions
Mix the Pasta Dough
  1. In a stand mixer combine dry ingredients.
  2. Add egg whites and olive oil.
  3. Mix on low to medium speed with flat beater.
  4. When ingredients come together, switch to dough hook. When dough leaves the sides of the bowl increase speed to medium high and knead dough for 5 minutes.
  5. Form dough into log, cover with Saran wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
  6. If dough doesn't come together: if too dry add a little water until dough comes together. If too wet and sticky add small amounts of flour, a tbsp at a time until dough leaves sides of the bowl. Dough should not be sticky. Add more flour and let knead if dough feels tacky.
  7. Once dough has rested roll out pasta dough with pasta machine and cut macaroni to desired size: spaghetti, fettucini, tagliatelle, parpadelle, etc.
  8. Let cut pasta dry well before cooking.
Make Your Pesto
  1. Toast almonds at 350 degrees for 5-8 minutes or until golden brown. Use ½ cup of the almonds for the pesto and set aside ½ cup for later.
  2. Put ½ cup of almonds, 4 cups of spinach, lemon juice, cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper flakes into a food processor and blend.
  3. Stop to scrape sides of bowl. Make sure to scrape down any large chunks of spinach.
  4. Continue to blend the mixture and add olive oil in a stream through the top of the food processor.
  5. Once olive oil is added and pesto is blended, taste and adjust salt and pepper to your taste.
  6. You can store pesto in a sealed container for up to a week.
Roast Your Tomatoes
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a half sheet pan with a silpat.
  2. Cut tomatoes in half, lengthwise, trimming the tops, and place on sheet pan.
  3. Rub with olive oil and coat with balsamic vinegar.
  4. Sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper.
  5. Roast in 425 oven for 30-35 minutes or until tender and lightly browned.
  6. Let cool slightly, dice and set aside.
Cook Pasta and Assemble Dish
  1. In a large stock pot (6 - 8 quarts) bring water to boil and salt well.
  2. Chop ½ cup of the reserved toasted almonds.
  3. Put the rest of the spinach from the 5 ounce bag in a bowl.
  4. Add pasta to water and stir with large fork or tongs.
  5. Heat pesto on low heat in a large non stick saute pan.
  6. Once pasta is adante (cooked but has a bite to it, not mushy), usually about 4-5 minutes, use a strainer to scoop it out of the pot and add half of it to the pesto.
  7. Add the remaining spinach. Add the rest of the pasta. Add a ladel of the pasta water.
  8. Increase the heat to medium. Toss together in the pesto. The spinach will wilt.
  9. Taste and add cheese if needed.
  10. Put into a large serving bowl or individual serving bowls.
  11. Top with chopped roasted tomatoes, chopped almonds, and grated cheese.

Here’s what the Spinach Almond Pesto looks like.

It makes a great dip or sauce topping for crab cakes, polenta bites, goat cheese – just about anything!


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Need help making pesto? Watch my video: How to Make Pesto!

Overwhelmed at the thought of making homemade pasta? Get some help. Watch my videos:

VIDEO: How to Mix Pasta Dough

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VIDEO: How to Roll Out Pasta

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VIDEO: Tips for Rolling Out Pasta

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5 Responses to "Healthy Homemade Pasta with Spinach Almond Pesto"
  1. This looks really fabulous. I cant wait to try this. I’ve never made my own pasta, but this is right up my alley. What type of pasta maker do you use or recommend or none? This is one area that I have never explored. Thanks so much. Beautiful recipe.

    • Andrea, Thank you for your reply! I have an imperial machine and I use a motor. Gram still used the crank but I’ve gone modern. 🙂 Definitely give it a try. Let me know if you have questions. Watch the videos I linked to…hopefully they will help! Angela

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