Aired March 19, 2009
1 pound penne rigate pasta
4 cups (packed) baby spinach, divided
1/4 cup shelled pistachios or whole almonds, toasted
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1/3 to 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
A few grates fresh nutmeg
Zest of 1 lemon, juice of 1/2
Ground black pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 pound fresh or frozen artichoke hearts (defrosted, if frozen)
2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
1/2 cup white wine
Place a large pot of water over high heat to boil. When the water reaches a bubble, salt it and drop the pasta. Cook just shy of al dente according to package directions. Just before draining, reserve a large mugful of the starchy cooking water. Drain pasta and reserve
While the pasta is cooking, combine half of the spinach, the nuts, stock, Parmigiano Reggiano, nutmeg, lemon zest and juice, some salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the machine to chop everything up then stream in about 1/4 cup EVOO (eyeball it) with the machine running. Reserve.
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the artichokes and garlic to the pan, and cook until slightly golden. Add the wine and cook until tender, 4-5 minutes.
Add the pasta, pesto, reserved cooking water (about 1 cup) and remaining spinach to the pan and toss to combine and wilt the spinach, 2-3 minutes. Serve warm with an extra sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano.