Tallarines verdes ("green noodles" in English) are the Peruvian version of pasta with pesto. Italian immigrants came to Peru in the early 1900s and brought their favorite recipes along with them, adapting them to the local ingredients and flavors. That's how this homey sauce — simple yet unbelievably tasty — came to be. Queso fresco replaced parmesan cheese, spinach was added to the basil to make the sauce less intense and more abundant, and the classic Peruvian aderezo made with sautéed garlic and onion gave extra taste to the dish.
RECIPE: Tallarines Verdes with Winter Veggies Serves 4
Prep time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 45 minutes Total time: 45 minutes (some prep done while vegetables are roasting)
1 small head broccoli
1 small head cauliflower
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup olive oil + 2 tablespoons
8 cups water (for cooking) + 1 cup water (for the sauce)
1 large (or 2 small) garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
4 cups fresh chopped Tuscan kale
4 cups fresh spinach
4 cups fresh basil
1 pack brown rice spaghetti (12 ounces)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cut the broccoli and cauliflower into small florets, place in a baking pan, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle 1/4 cup olive oil on top. Mix well with a spoon until all the vegetables are evenly coated.
Bake for 45 minutes and make the rest of the recipe 20 minutes before they are ready.
Bring a large pan with water to a boil.
While the water is being heated, prepare the sauce: sauté the garlic and onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, stirring for 3 minutes. Add the kale and season with salt and pepper. Stir until it wilts completely (you may have to add it in batches to the pan). Then do the same with the spinach. Once the spinach is cooked, add the basil, turn the heat off, and keep stirring until the basil wilts, too.
Transfer the cooked leafy greens to a blender, add 1 cup water, and blend until creamy. Add more water if needed.
Cook the pasta following the packet instructions, strain, mix in with the sauce, and serve covered with roasted vegetables.