assorted 006There are few things as comforting as a nice bowl of pasta topped with fresh-made sauce.  And the best part of the deal is that it’s actually a pretty easy meal to make up, especially if you opt for something besides long-simmering tomato sauce to top your noodles.

When a couple of our friends recently had a new baby, we knew we wanted to do something to congratulate them that would also take into account the new demands on their time.  So we waited a few weeks until things had settled into something of a more regular routine for them, and then we presented them with a jar of home-made spinach and walnut pesto from Pasta: Every Way for Every DayThis is another one of our old reliable cookbooks, and we’ve even created some of our most favorite dishes using recipes inside as a guide.

Spinach Walnuts OilWe chose the spinach and walnut pesto because it was both healthy and delicious.   The vibrant green color is echoed in the fresh flavor of the sauce.  Even with the addition of a few cloves of garlic, this is not an overly heavy pesto.  Paired with a block of parmesan cheese (so they could add it to suit their tastes), it made for a great step-saver should they be faced with a night when boiling the water for the pasta is all the cooking they want to do.

And the pesto is super-easy to make, as well.  We combined one cup spinach leaves, two cloves crushed garlic and three tablespoons of walnut pieces in a food processor and then added four tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.  We let the mixer run for a few seconds before stopping it, scraping down the sides and running it just a little bit more.

Jarred PestoWe jarred our pesto at this point (to help it keep longer), but the finishing touches involve the addition of eight tablespoons of freshly-grated parmesan and some salt and pepper to taste.  From there, it’s just a matter of tossing cooked pasta (preferably a rigatoni or a shell-like pasta to catch chunks) with the pesto and serving it hot.