spinach pesto with mushrooms and artichokes

This is one of those easy peasy pastas that make you feel like a real cook. And how perfect would it be for St. Patrick's Day if you don't like cabbage?

First of all, did I ever say how much I love my food processor? I wanted one for a while, but I'm kind of a minimalist with kitchen gadgets. I bought it about six months ago, and have not regretted it at all. I may only use it once a week or so, but for some recipes there's no easy way to make them without it. I've used it for hummus (chickpea and white bean), frozen fruit sorbet, carrot soup, and now, pesto:

This recipe was inspired by a pesto-artichoke-and-mushroom-topped fried chicken sandwich that my hubby had at a cafe close by, when he remarked that the topping was the best part of the sandwich. I consulted my vegetarian cookbook for a basic pesto recipe (then switched the basil to spinach and the pinenuts to walnuts).

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Mushrooms and Artichokes

For the pesto:
1/2 c. walnuts
3 cloves garlic
4 c. baby spinach
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
1-2 tsp. dried basil
salt and pepper
olive oil

Grind walnuts and garlic in food processor. Add spinach and cheese and process until smooth. Add olive oil as needed (a few tablespoons) through hole in top, season with dried basil, salt and pepper.

For the pasta:
6 oz. mushrooms, sliced (we used a mix of baby bellas and shitakes)
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
1 box pasta of your choice (we used linguine)
1-2 c. heavy cream

Boil water and cook pasta according to directions.

Heat olive oil in large pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and saute for 5-10 minutes. Add artichoke hearts and saute another 5-10 minutes. Add pesto, bring to boil and cook for 5 minutes or so.

Add cream, lower heat and cook until combined, stirring.

Serve over pasta, garnish with Parmesan.

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