• 120g baby spinach leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons blanched almonds, toasted, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (120g) fresh low-fat ricotta, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup (25g) freshly grated parmesan
  • 400g penne rigate



  1. Blanch spinach in a large pan of lightly salted, simmering water for 10 seconds until wilted. Drain and immediately refresh under cold water. Drain again.
  2. Squeeze as much liquid from the spinach as possible, then roughly chop. Place in a food processor with the garlic, almonds, oil, ricotta and 2 tablespoons parmesan, season, then blend until smooth and a vibrant green colour.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water according to packet instructions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup (60ml) cooking water. Return pasta to pan with the pesto and reserved water. Stir over low heat for 30 seconds until combined and warmed through.
  4. Divide pasta among bowls, sprinkle with remaining parmesan, then serve.

Serves 4

Lydia Schiavello