Spaghetti with Rocket and Walnut Pesto by the Australian Women’s Weekly

I discovered this recipe in a free cookbook that got deposited in my shopping trolley at the start of the summer season. I imagine this was because the little cookbook is for ‘winter warmers’ and we are well and truly out of that season in New Zealand right now. I basically post-it noted every page of this little cookbook and this recipe was one of the recipes I wanted to try out the most.

The toasted walnuts were delicious, and I had to stop myself eating too many of them before putting them in the blender to use to make the pesto. The myriad of ingredients and flavours made the dish so decadent. The meal did cost a bit of money to put together with the walnuts and feta. This is definitely a recipe I would make again, but probably on a weekend night as it does take a while to put together. Definitely a two person job if you are wanting to do it quickly or stress free. If you made the pesto the night before or during the day this would take some of the stress off compiling this dish as well.

If you are wanting to try a new pasta dish then I would definitely recommend this one. Matt and I usually make creamy pasta dishes such as carbonara or macaroni cheese with the occasional spaghetti bolognaise so it was really nice to try something different, and I was in pasta heaven. This recipe will make you want to go back for seconds even if you are already stuffed. The volume of the pesto mix is perfect for the size of the dish, and leaves everything coated in the tasty pesto goodness with some to spare at the bottom of the pot.

We did end up substituting a couple of the ingredients in the recipe, such as ricotta was swtiched to feta, and parmesan to grated cheese due to costs. I also thought the recipe said spinach when I went to the supermarket, so this replaced the rocket. We replaced the broccolini with good old, normal broccoli and added in chicken as there is really no point for us making a meal in the middle of the week that includes no meat, as we will both get too hungry before bed. If you want to add chicken then we used about 500 g chicken thighs, sliced thinly, lengthwise. Follow the notes in the recipe below as to how to add and cook in the chicken.

I cannot find the recipe, or the mini cookbook online so see below.

Spaghetti with rocket and walnut pesto, Winter Warmers, Australian Women’s Weekly, pp28


Pasta –

  • 400 g wholemeal spaghetti
  • 470 g broccolini, trimmed, chopped coarsely
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 400 g baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup ricotta, crumbled
  • 1/2 c walnuts roasted, coarsely chopped

20170110_185514Rocket and Walnut Pesto –

  • 60 g rocket leaves
  • 1/2 c walnuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 t finely grated lemon rind
  • 1/3 c finely grated parmesan
  • 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil


1  For the rocket and walnut pesto, process the rocket, basil, nuts, garlic, rind, cheese and 1 T of the oil until roughly chopped. With motor operating, add the remaining oil in a thin, steady stream until mixture is smooth. Season to taste.

2  Cook pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water 10 minutes or until almost tender, adding broccolini in last 2 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water; drain pasta.

2a  If adding chicken heat 2 T olive oil in a frying pan. When hot add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally until golden and cooked through. Add the broccolini to the fry pan instead of the pasta pan and fry until crisp and tender.

3  Heat oil in a large saucepan (frypan) over medium heat; cook garlic and spinach, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes or until just wilted. Season. Stir in pasta, broccolini, pesto and enough reserved cooking water to help combine sauce.

4  Serve pasta topped with ricotta and nuts.


Have you tried this out? Be sure to tag me in instagram or leave a comment on how you found it! (@lana_holla and #splatteredapron) I would love to see how yours turns out!

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