Summer Greens Pasta al Pesto with Aegina Pistachios, Greek Olive Oil & Feta


During Greek summer, on my Greek table, I am always looking for easy, practically no-cook Greek recipes, especially those that are in line with the healthy Ikaria longevity way of eating and living. Greens, garlic, olive oil are all important elements in the Greek-Mediterranean diet. Try this Ikaria longevity and Mediterranean Diet recipe for a quick, healthy answer to lunch or dinner.

You can switch out the greens for seasonal winter greens, too, making it a healthy Greek recipe for any time of the year. Spread the pesto on bruschetta, open some ouzo, and you’ve got an instant party. Or, leave out the feta and you’ve got the perfect Greek vegan meal.

Ingredients

For the Pesto

  • 3 cups raw tender amaranth greens (vlitor baby spinach or swiss chard
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2/3 cup shelled raw Aegina pistachios
  • 2/3 cup crumbled Greek feta
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin Greek olive oil
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Greek sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pasta

  • Whole wheat rigatoni ziti or spaghetti

Instructions

Make the pesto

  1. Trim the stems off your greens of choice (amaranth (vlita), spinach or Swiss charand coarsely chop. Trim the stems off the parsley and basil. Peel and crush or chop t he garlic. Shell the pistachios.

  2. Place the pistachios and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture is a smooth paste. Add the greens in handfuls and process, drizzling in some of the olive oil as you go. Continue until the pesto is smooth. Add the feta and lemon zest and pulse a few more times to combine well. Set aside. You can store the pesto in a jar in the fridge at this point. If you top it with olive oil so that no air gets in, it will last for two weeks.

The Pasta

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add a generous handful of Greek sea salt to the water and stir in your pasta of choice. Cook as per package directions. Drain and reserve a cup of the pasta liquid.
  2. Toss in half the pesto, diluting as needed or desired with some of the hot pasta liquid. Serve immediately.

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