Wisconsin Parmesan Spinach-Walnut Pesto with Lemon

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By Delia of Delia Creates

Super foods. We’ve all heard about them and how good they are for us. The problem is they aren’t always as tasty as they are nutritious. So I have come up with a delectable way to eat two of my favorite super foods, walnuts and spinach, in one bite, with a Wisconsin Parmesan Spinach-Walnut Pesto with Lemon.

The key ingredient that makes the super food flavors so harmoniously delicious is Wisconsin Parmesan cheese. It may surprise you that Wisconsin Parmesan cheese is not only easy on the pocketbook, and widely accessible, but a great contender to imported Italian brands.

I love to buy it as a whole wedge and grate it fresh whenever I want to add a little more zing to vegetables, pasta dishes, or soups. You may use the pre-grated cheese that comes in a tub, though you will get a slightly different texture and flavor. For my recipe I used a wedge of Wisconsin Parmesan and grated it fresh. It’s a great cheese to always have on hand. For my pesto though, it plays a much bigger role.

Pesto is most often made in a food processor. You can surely use one. I don’t have a food processor, just a food chopper, so my recipe reflects that. It’s a simple recipe that is excellent on pasta, with fish, and on pizza.

Spinach-Walnut Pesto with Lemon

By Delia of Delia Creates

Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups of prepared pesto
2 cloves of garlic, minced fine
1 1/2 c baby spinach, stems removed
1/2 heaping cup of walnuts
1/3 – 1/2 c olive oil
Juice of one small lemon (approx. 2-3 tbsp.)
1 tsp of lemon zest
1 tbsp hot pasta water or plain hot water – only if needed
1 c freshly grated Wisconsin Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

First, mince garlic in food chopper or processor.

Add spinach, walnuts, olive oil (I start out with 1/3 a cup and then add more as needed), lemon juice and lemon zest.

Pulse your chopper with very short bursts of energy until you have a nice chunky sauce. I sometimes stir the ingredients or shake my chopper between bursts to help all the ingredients chop evenly.

Add hot water and/or more olive oil to get a consistency you like. Be careful, you do not want it to be runny or over blended. It should be thick and chunky.

Empty your sauce into a bowl and gently fold in your freshly grated Wisconsin Parmesan cheese.

Add salt and pepper and more lemon zest to taste.