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Spring Baby Artichoke and Spinach Pesto Pasta


  • 1 pound penne rigate pasta

  • 4 cups baby spinach (packed), divided

  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios or whole almonds, toasted

  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock, divided

  • 1/3-1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish

  • A few grates of fresh nutmeg

  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided

  • 1 pound fresh or frozen artichoke hearts (defrosted, if frozen)

  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated


Place a large pot of water over high heat to boil. When the water reaches a bubble, salt it and drop in the pasta. Cook to al dente, according to the package directions. Just before draining, reserve a large mugful of the starchy cooking water. Drain the pasta and reserve. While the pasta is cooking, combine half of the spinach with the nuts, stock, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, nutmeg, lemon zest and juice, 1/2 cup of the stock and some salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to chop everything up, then stream in about 1/4 cup EVOO (eyeball it) with the machine running. Ask a grown-up helper (GH) for help with the food processor, if you need it. Reserve. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat with two turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the artichokes and garlic to the pan and cook until slightly golden. Add the remaining 1/2 cup stock and cook until tender, 4-5 minutes. Add the pasta, pesto, reserved cooking water (about 1 cup) and the 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 cheese. This is one of many "Yum-o!" recipes – it's good and good for you. To find out more about Yum-o!, Rachael's nonprofit organization, go to