spaghetti with arugula pesto/roasted red pepper hummus

I made the most delicious dinner I’ve made in a long time last night, and, as usual, I owe it all to vegan goddess Christina Pirello.  Absolutely every time I make one of her recipes, it delivers. Just love her.  She posted the below recipe in a blog post titled “Lighten Up for Spring,” in which she explains how the energy in our environment and thus in our bodies changes as we move from the frigid depths of winter to the warmer lighter energy of spring. The trees have already started to bloom here in Portland, and everyone’s dying for the rain to let up so we can get back outside and enjoy the green beauty.  But, I think that will be a while. So while we wait, we eat. Story of my life.

Now, since I’m moving to NYC in less than a month, I’m constantly thinking about how to use up absolutely everything in my fridge and pantry so that nothing needs to be hastily thrown out the day we leave.  I’ll sacrifice most anything but food thankyouverymuch. So, I used a combination of penne and spaghetti for this recipe because that’s what I had. You could use whatever. I rilly love spaghetti with pesto, so this worked for me. But to make it healthier (and more asian) in the future I might sub in buckwheat soba noodles. or at least whole wheat pasta.  I served this with some crusty bread and homemade roasted red pepper hummus (recipe below). It was a killer combo if I do say so myself.

Also good news: bitter greens (like arugula) make our zits die. and they make us skinny. so. Christina writes: “Bitter greens are the greatest thing for clarifying the skin.  Their bitter flavor and astringent quality cleanse the liver and gall bladder of any accumulate fat that can interfere with the discharge of toxins–the job of these important organs.  Bitter greens are also an important ingredient in our ability to digest, assimilate and discharge oil and fat, which is why they seem to be so delicious when sautéed.”

Orecchiette with Arugula Pesto (recipe via here)

Pesto
2 bunches arugula, stems removed, rinsed well, coarsely minced
1 bunch chives, rinsed well, coarsely minced
One half cup pine nuts or walnuts, lightly roasted (I used pine nuts of course)
One half cup extra virgin olive oil
2-3 teaspoons white miso
2 teaspoons brown rice syrup
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar (I didn’t have this so I subbed in 1 tsp. white wine vinegar & 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar)

1 pound orecchiette or penne pasta
1 red onion, thin half moon slices
several fresh chives, left whole, for garnish

To make the pesto, rinse and prepare the greens and chives.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil and quickly blanche the arugula, about 30 seconds.  Combine with chives, transfer to a food processor and pulse to puree.  Add nuts, oil, miso, rice syrup and vinegar.  Puree until a thick, smooth pesto forms.  Set aside.

Return water to a boil.  Cook orecchiette and onions together until tender, 10-12 minutes.  Drain, but do not rinse.  Toss hot pasta with pesto to coat.  Transfer to a serving bowl and arrange chives in a criss-cross pattern on top of the noodles to garnish.  Serve warm or chilled.  Makes 5-6 servings.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

1 14 oz. can organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 roasted red peppers (canned), diced small (divided)
generous pinch crushed red pepper, to taste
2 small or 1 large clove garlic, minced. add more if you’re a garlic fiend, by all means.
1/4 tsp sea salt, you can add more to taste
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 cup olive oil-eyeball it. start with about half this and add more to reach desired consistency. you may not need all of it.
tiny squeeze fresh lemon juice
Add the chickpeas, 3/4 of the diced red peppers, the crushed red pepper, salt, garlic, paprika, and olive oil to a food processor or blender or whatever you have. I used a hand blender and it worked just fine.  Blend very well to desired texture, adding in more olive oil as needed.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add the lemon juice, and stir in the remaining diced red pepper. Taste, adjust seasoning, and devourthewholethinginonesittinglikeidid.

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