In Peru, Tallarines Verde is made with spinach, not basil.
Peruvian Pesto (Tallarines Verde)

Peruvian Pesto (Tallarines Verde)

45 minutes

4 Servings

For bright color and fresh flavor, we pureed ¾ pound of spinach for this pesto. A quick simmer in a skillet took the raw edge off the onion and spinach, giving a depth and complexity lacking in traditional raw pestos. Parmesan and a splash of cream enriched the dish, and a healthy squeeze of lime juice tied everything together.

Ingredients

  • 12

    ounces linguine or fettuccine

  • 1

    cup chopped yellow onion (1 small)

  • ½

    cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • ¼

    cup water

  • 3

    garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 12

    ounces baby spinach (about 12 cups)

  • ¼

    cup heavy cream

  • 2

    ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)

  • 4

    ounces queso fresco, crumbled (about 1 cup)

  • Lime wedges, to serve

Peruvian Pesto (Tallarines Verde)

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

45 minutes

Tip

Don’t be alarmed if the skillet seems very full after adding the pasta. Use tongs to gently lift and stir the noodles, and a rubber spatula to scrape the edges of the pan.

Ingredients

  • 12

    ounces linguine or fettuccine

  • 1

    cup chopped yellow onion (1 small)

  • ½

    cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • ¼

    cup water

  • 3

    garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 12

    ounces baby spinach (about 12 cups)

  • ¼

    cup heavy cream

  • 2

    ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)

  • 4

    ounces queso fresco, crumbled (about 1 cup)

  • Lime wedges, to serve

Step 1 of 3

Cook the pasta

12
ounces linguine or fettuccine

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until just tender but not fully cooked, about 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1½ cups of the cooking water.

Step 2 of 3

Process the spinach mixture

1
cup chopped yellow onion (1 small)
½
cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼
cup water
3
garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1
teaspoon kosher salt
1
teaspoon ground black pepper
12
ounces baby spinach (about 12 cups)

Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the onion, oil, ¼ cup water, garlic and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Add a third of the spinach and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the remaining spinach in 2 batches, processing until smooth after each.

Step 3 of 3

Cook the spinach mixture, coat, and serve

¼
cup heavy cream
2
ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
4
ounces queso fresco, crumbled (about 1 cup)
Lime wedges, to serve

Transfer the spinach mixture to a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to thicken, 3 to 5 minutes.


Add the reserved pasta water and return to a simmer, then add the pasta and stir to coat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente and the pesto no longer appears watery, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream.


Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with the queso fresco and serve with lime wedges. 

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