Winter Spinach Pesto with Rotini and Roasted Cauiflower
This winter spinach pesto with tangy ricotta cheese is an easy, nutritious, and super satisfying vegetarian winter pesto recipe. It pairs perfectly with nutty, pan-roasted cauliflower florets and hearty whole grain rotini.
Fill a large pot with 3-4 quarts of water. Place over the burner, add 1 tbsp salt, and bring to a boil. Once the water boils, add the whole wheat rotini and cook to al dente according to package instructions. Strain the pasta, then return to the pot.
While the pasta water is coming to a boil, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the cauliflower and a pinch of sea salt and toss in the fat until evenly coated. Pan-sear the cauliflower over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and caramelized, 12-18 minutes, depending on floret size.
While the cauliflower and pasta are cooking, make the pesto. Put the spinach, ricotta, walnuts, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper into a blender or food processor. Pulse a few times until the ingredients are finely diced and incorporated. Then, with the blade running, slowly add the olive oil until the pesto comes together. Add less for a chunkier consistency, more for a smoother version.
Toss the cooked pasta with the roasted cauliflower and pesto sauce. Top with fresh parmesan and chives to taste and serve immediately.