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It seems a bit odd to call it “pesto” because it is a cooked spinach sauce with not a trace of basil but there you go. It’s delicious!

Serves 6 to 8

1 pound pasta
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 chopped jalapeno (optional)
Salt and ground black pepper
12 ounces spinach (about 12 cups)
1/4 cup heavy cream, half and half or milk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup crumbled queso fresco or Iberico (from Trader Joe’s)
1 lime

Cook the pasta until tender but not fully cooked, about 2 minutes less than package directions. Reserve 1-1/2 cups of the cooking water before draining the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking combine the onion, oil, ¼ cup water, garlic and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and a chopped jalapeno if you want to spice things up, in a food processor. Add one third of the spinach and process about 30 seconds or until smooth. Add the remaining spinach in two batches, processing until smooth after each.

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, bring the pureed spinach mixture to a boil and, stirring occasionally, cook until it begins to thicken, three to five minutes. Add the reserved pasta water and return to a simmer. Mix in the pasta, then bring back to a simmer, stirring occasionally, for three to five minutes, until the pasta is al dente and the sauce has thickened up. Stir in the heavy cream and remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan, then one to two tabelespoons of fresh lime juice. Serve with crumbled queso fresco (or Iberico) for you and your guests to sprinle on liberally. Enjoy!

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