October 7th, 2009

Spinach Linguine With Edamame Pesto

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Serves 4

You may or may not know that I’m working on a low fat cookbook. I was deeply concerned that this meant goodbye to some of my favorite dishes but with a few tricks, a lot of creativity and many hours searching thriftstores for 80s diet cookbooks, I’ve been able to keep myself satisfied and I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing much.

For instance, no one should suffer a life without pesto, but a pesto without pinenuts or walnuts seems lifeless. So what’s a girl to do? Once again, it’s soybeans to the rescue! Edamame has just enough fat and texture to make a lighter healthier pesto work. It also makes the pesto at once bulky and creamy. It’s a miracle, really. Oh, little soybean, what can’t you do?

In this dish I’ve sauteed some mushrooms for meatiness and red onions for a little tinge of sweetness. But you can use edamame pesto as a dip or as a topping for a baked potatoes, or as a filling for lasagna, or anywhere else that pesto would be appropriate. It’s really easy and versatile, too. It may not taste exactly like the super oily pesto we all know and love, but it tastes pretty darn good and it’s got a fraction of the fat so it won’t leave you feeling like you’re about to give birth to a pesto baby. Did I just ruin your appetite forever?

For the edamame pesto:
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup packed basil leaves
Handful (1/4 cup or so) fresh cilantro
14 oz package shelled edamame, thawed
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
optional: 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

For the pasta:
10 oz spinach linguine or other pasta

1 teaspoon olive oil
Small red onion, in thinly sliced half moons
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
Extra basil for garnish

Cooking spray

Put on a pot of salted water to boil. Then prepare the pesto:

Place garlic and basil in food processor and pulse a few times to get it chopped up. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until relatively smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula to make sure you get everything. Add a little more vegetable broth if it seems too stiff. Set aside until ready to use.

Preheat a large pan over medium heat. At this point your pasta water should be ready, so add the linguine.

Saute onion in oil for about 5 minutes. Use a little cooking spray as needed, or a splash of water if you prefer. Mix in mushrooms, garlic, thyme and salt. Cover pot and cook 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

The pasta should be ready now, so drain it.

When the mushrooms have cooked down, add pasta to the pan, along with the pesto. Use a pasta spoon to stir and coat the linguine. Get everything good and mixed and the pesto heated through, about 3 minutes. The pesto should be relatively thick, but if it’s too thick (not spreading out and coating the pasta) add a few tablespoons of water. Taste for salt.

Serve immediately, garnished with a little fresh chopped basil.

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