Sunday, January 6, 2013

Jalapeno Pasta

The Little Guy is a hot and cold kind of eater.  He always seems to prove me wrong, refusing things he's eaten with gusto before and trying new things I wouldn't even dream of feeding him.  This spicy pesto pasta is one of those.  We were having a particularly trying evening and honestly I was about ready to give him jelly beans for dinner.  I think he liked the color and the shape of the pasta and so this ended up being a big hit!

Jalapeno Pasta
(another favorite by Giada!! with modifications by me)

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 (2-inch long) red or green jalapeno pepper, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups grated Romano cheese
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound fusilli pasta
  • 2 T lemon juice
Some notes before I give you the recipe.  Usually I find that pasta recipes are really heavy on the pasta and lacking on the sauce.  This one is an exception.  This recipes makes a MASSIVE amount of pesto.  I only made 1/2 a pound of pasta because I hate under-dressed pasta.  We had half of the pesto leftover and it warmed up quite nicely for a second meal.  I also added about a tablespoon of lemon juice the second time and I think it improved the taste.  The original recipe calls for 3 ounces of arugula and 3 ounces of spinach but since I had only spinach on hand I used that.  I don't think the arugula itself would have been enough to brighten up the taste so I would add a couple tablespoons of lemon juice to taste if you are making this.

With that said, here's how to make it!

You'll need a large food processor for this.  Otherwise you'll want to cut the ingredients in half and make in two batches.  

Combine nuts, cheese, salt, pepper and garlic in food processor.  Pulse until mixed.  Add the spinach and/or spinach and arugula.  Process until combine.  

Here is another place where I really deviated from the recipe.  This recipe called for 1/4 a cup of olive oil.  You simply do not need that much!  Plus I just couldn't stand to think of all those added calories when it tasted so wonderful on it's own!  So....add anywhere between a tablespoon and 1/4 cup of olive oil at this point.  I'd start small and see if you like the consistency and taste.  

That's it!

A few other notes.  Jalapeno peppers are hot.  If you add the seeds to the recipe they are even hotter.  Some people suggest gloves when preparing them.  I don't use them but make sure you wash your hands after handling them.  If you really like spicy food you can keep the seeds.

I loved the taste of this recipe but at the same time found it to be lacking.  In the future I think I might add some sauteed cherry tomatoes to give it some brightness.  It would also make a lovely Christmas dish with beautiful green and red colors.  I think I would prefer this as a side dish.

That being said, I'd definitely make it again.  without the olive oil it's a decently healthy pesto recipe!  It would also be great served on top of chicken.

Hope you enjoy!


Krista said...

Wow! I love the color of this! So bright and inviting. My husband would love this. Thanks for sharing at Church Supper. Love seeing new faces. Have a blessed week & come back soon ~EMM

Resa @ said...

What a good idea....sounds like something I want to try this week, especially since you said your Little Guy went for it. (I have a couple of on-and-off eaters, too.) I wouldn't have thought of jalapenos with pasta. Love that idea. Thanks for sharing!

Wanda Ann Olsen said...

We love anything jalapeno, sounds good.I saw you at Debi's blog hop. I am having my first link party and would love for you to come and play over at
Hope to see you there. New follower and I pinned it.
Wanda Ann @ Memories by the Mile

Cranberry Morning said...

My husband would love this. It doesn't matter what I make, he almost always goes to the refrigerator and drags out the jalapenos to add to it. :-)

Angie Generose said...

This looks delicious! My husband and I love spicy food (and pasta), so this is right up our alley.

I host a link party each Thursday and would love for you to share this.

Thanks for the great post!


Michelle said...

Visiting from Full Plate. I think I would like this a lot. Giada rarely lets me down. Great idea to add cherry tomatoes.

Kelly @ Semi Homemade Mom said...

My husband would go crazy for this, definitely pinning to try! I'd love it if you shared this at my Wednesday link party:

Self Sagacity said...

We just had some pasta tonight, wish I saw this before hand, it looks great. Saw you on fantastic food friday.

Run DMT said...

I love the color and the flavors sound amazing! Thanks for sharing! I would love for you to share you pasta at my foodie blog hop, Friday Food Fight.

Rose @ Walnut Acre said...

I sounds really good. I love jalapenos!

Miz Helen said...

When you say Jalapeno, I'm there, Your Jalapeno Pasta looks delicious and we will love it. Thank you so much for celebrating TWO YEARS with FULL PLATE THURSDAY, I appreciate your visit!
Come Back Soon
Miz Helen

The Quiet Mom said...

Oh, this sounds so good. Would love to try this. Thanks for sharing.

Hopping by and following your lovely blog's twitter, FB and Pinterest. I blog @ Getting Healthy with Essential Oils

I am also inviting you to join Tiddle Diddle Handmade Shoppe's first giveaway event.

Ericka Breedlove said...

Oooh...this sounds really good!! I can't wait to try this recipe! Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday!

Kelly Wells said...

So pretty and I love spicy foods. Thank you for sharing your recipe on Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party this week. Please remember to link your recipe back to and come back on Sunday to vote for your favorite recipes!

Kelly from

Printabelle said...

Spicy pesto, yum!! Thanks so much for sharing.

SJ @ Homemaker On A Dime said...

I pinned this :)

Mariel said...

Looks delicious! I'd love for you to share this or any of your great ideas at the link party going on now (and every Saturday through Tuesday) at 'Or so she says ...' Hope to see you there!

Kathryn Ferguson Griffin said...

Wow! This looks so good. Thank you for sharing this at the Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House. Hope to see your prettiness again on Monday. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse said...

I love jalapeno pesto!! I've used it Mexican Mac and Cheese-it's truly a beautiful thing! My kids wouldn't go near it thought, so it's amazing your little guy ate it up! Thanks for sharing at One Creative Weekend!

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