Pesto is one of my all-time favorite pasta sauces, and so I am always looking for new and innovative ways to spruce up my pesto pasta dishes. Today I share with you a classic spinach pesto pasta, elevated to a beautiful side dish by adding simple sautéed mushrooms!
Store-bought pesto just is not the same as homemade pesto. That is just a fact. And while I do prefer the Kirkland brand pesto at Costco, I definitely prefer to make homemade pesto if I have the time. The easiest thing to do is to make a big double or triple batch and then freeze the extra for future use. You can freeze it in a Tupperware container if you plan on using a large amount at once (for big family/friend gatherings) or you can freeze it in an ice cube tray. This is a great trick if you need one or two person serving sizes of pesto: fill your ice cube tray with pesto in each “ice cube slot.” Once frozen, remove the pesto cubes and place in a Ziploc freezer bag. Then you can just remove however many cubes you need at a time and throw them right into your pasta or other dish. So simple!
One of my favorite things to do with homemade pesto is to add other types of cheeses. I am especially fond of adding cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese because it gives the pesto an extra creamy texture and a tangy note.
Pairing it with the sautéed mushrooms gives this dish a perfect “winter side dish” vibe, which I love. Here I just used the “gourmet blend” of mushrooms that is sold at my local grocery store, but you can really use whatever type of mushrooms you prefer.
Now it’s your turn!
What is your favorite way to “spruce up” your pesto? Share with me by commenting below!
- 3 large garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 4 large handfuls of baby spinach
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into small cubes
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1/2 lb. gourmet mushroom blend (Such as cremini, shiitake, baby bella, etc.)
- 1 splash white wine
- 1 lb. wheel pasta, or other small shaped pasta
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Parmesan cheese, grated
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
- To make spinach pesto, combine garlic, walnuts and spinach in a food processor. Pulse until combined. With food processor running, stream in olive oil and process until combined. Add parmesan cheese and cream cheese. Process until combined, scraping down the sides with a spatula as needed. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- In a medium-sized stainless steel sautéte pan over medium heat, melt butter. Sauté mushrooms for 8-10 minutes, until tender. Turn the heat up to medium-high and deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook just until the liquid has evaporated.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of pasta water.
- To finish dish, combine pasta with a couple of large spoonfuls of pesto and a couple of splashes of pasta water in a pot over low-medium heat. Stir until combined. Add more pasta water or pesto as desired. Serve in a bowl with sautéed mushrooms on top. Garnish with parmesan cheese.