This is such a wonderful dish and one that I have been meaning to put together for a long time. I originally used this concept to create a pasta bake, but the end result was always too heavy and I was looking for something fresh and light that would not feel complicated on the palate. Not over cooking the Moroccan vegetables and then combining with a fresh tasting pesto and adding to freshly cooked spaghetti allows for the most amazing spaghetti dish you will ever taste.
150-200 g ( 6-7 oz ) dried or fresh egg free spaghetti (use more or less depending on how much or how little spaghetti you like), cooked to packet instructions
For the Spinach and Walnut Pesto
100 g ( 4 oz ) fresh spinach
40 g ( 1.5 oz ) toasted walnuts
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 large clove garlic
1/4 cup groundnut oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Moroccan Vegetables
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
1 handful green beans, sliced and chopped
120 g ( 5 oz ) tinned or freshly cooked chickpeas
14 green olives
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 red chilli, finely chopped (optional)
1 large tomato, chopped
30 g ( 1 oz ) fresh spinach leaves
Handful of fresh rocket leaves (arugula)
Start by preparing the pesto.
Place all of the pesto ingredients in a processor and process until smooth but still with a slight texture. Remove and put to one side for using later.
Next start cooking the spaghetti. I personally like my spaghetti with a bite, but cook it to how you like it. Do not drain the spaghetti until ready to complete the dish as you will also be using some of the cooking liquid.
Whilst the spaghetti is cooking, prepare the rest of the dish.
In a frying pan, over a medium heat, fry the onions, bell pepper and green beans, plus a pinch of salt, in the vegetable oil for 4-5 minutes. Stir occasionally to be sure the onions do not catch.
Now add all of the other ingredients except for the fresh spinach and rocket and add 10 tablespoons of the cooking liquid from the spaghetti.
Continue to cook for a further 5-6 minutes until the vegetables are tender but still have a nice bite. Add the pesto and cook for another minute to warm through.
Drain the spaghetti and return to the pan along with the vegetable mixture, combine well and cook lightly to heat through. Just before serving toss in the fresh spinach, chopped tomato and garnish with the fresh rocket.