Join! 12 weeks for $1

Check out our latest issues.

Chef Eric Ripert teaches us how to make vegetables the star of the plate.

In Mumbai, we learned a home-cook friendly version of Butter Chicken.

Take a cooking class with us and our instructors from around the world.

NEW - 125 simple weeknight recipes from the world's healthiest cuisine.

1000+ hard-to-find items from around the world.

.
In Peru, tallarines verde is made with spinach not basil
Milk Street Bowtie Pasta with Peruvian Pesto (Tallarines Verde)

Pasta with Peruvian Pesto (Tallarines Verde)

Appears in March-April 2017

45 minutes

Made This Recipe? Write a Review.
Thank you for submitting your review! A member of our team is confirming the review meets our site's Community Guidelines. It will be posted on the site shortly.

Pasta with Peruvian Pesto (Tallarines Verde)

Free

The origin of Peruvian pesto, or tallarines verdes, dates to the 19th century, when a wave of Italian immigrants settled in Peru. Many came from Genoa—the birthplace of pesto—and they adapted the recipe to the available ingredients. A shocking amount of spinach replaces the basil, and crumbled queso fresco supplements (and sometimes entirely replaces) salty Parmesan cheese. “It became a kind of dialogue or maybe a love story” between two worlds, says Gastón Acurio, Peruvian culinary star, founder of the La Mar restaurants, and champion of his country’s food. For bright color and fresh flavor, we pureed ¾ pound of spinach for this pesto, along with onion and garlic. A quick simmer in a skillet took the raw edge off the onion and spinach, giving a depth and complexity lacking in traditional raw Italian pestos. Once the sauce thickened, we added reserved pasta cooking water, followed by undercooked pasta. The starch-infused water gave the pesto body, and the pasta finished cooking in the sauce, absorbing more of its flavor.

4

Servings

Tip

Don’t be alarmed if the skillet seems very full after adding the pasta. Use tongs to gently lift and stir the noodles, and a rubber spatula to scrape the edges of the pan.

45 minutes

12 ounces linguine or fettuccine
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 small)
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup water
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
12 ounces baby spinach (about 12 cups)
¼ cup heavy cream
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
4 ounces queso fresco, crumbled (about 1 cup)
Lime wedges, to serve
Ingredients
  • 12

    ounces linguine or fettuccine

  • 1

    cup chopped yellow onion (1 small)

  • ½
  • ¼

    cup water

  • 3

    garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 12

    ounces baby spinach (about 12 cups)

  • ¼

    cup heavy cream

  • 2

    ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)

  • 4

    ounces queso fresco, crumbled (about 1 cup)

  • Lime wedges, to serve

Add Flavor To Grains Thumbnails

MILK STREET BASICS

How to Add Flavor to Grains

Pasta Water Hero Image

Tuesday Nights

Save that pasta water

.
In the store
More

Mains

Reviews
Sandra T.
June 12, 2022
Peruvian pesto
Came together quickly, luckily I’m not a novice cook. Olive oil is in ingredients but not in the instructions. We both thought it was good, will make again with some modifications. Maybe some crushed red peppers and topped with roasted vegetables.
Beth M.

10/6/2020 - Tuesday Night (to coin a phrase) - I quick browned some shrimp to top this pasta. Really fantastic. I did halve some grape tomatoes and salted them to bring out the juices and then additionally roasted some cauliflower, artichoke hearts and more grape tomatoes to serve along side. I sprinkled the cotija over all and then added the lime. The colors were beautiful and the flavor amazing. I love this pesto as a lighter and iron packed deviation from the basil pesto which I make A LOT. Thanks Milk Street!

Nicole G.

This is very good. Some toasted nuts on top are nice. Works with baby kale as well.

Angelina R.

Can i make this but use basil instead of spinach or with it?

Lynn C.

Hi Angelina -

While you certainly *could* use basil or a combo of basil and spinach that would be more in line with Genovese pesto than Peruvian pesto. We also have a recipe for Genovese pesto which you can find here - https://www.177milkstreet.com/recipes/pesto-alla-genovese.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Scott P.

An excellent recipe, easy to make. I felt virtuous (LOL) eating so much spinach.

Elisabeth M.

This pesto is such a crowd pleaser. It is just as good over roasted veg as it is over pasta and it goes with just about any protein. Can this pesto be made ahead of time and frozen in portions? Perhaps with the addition of lemon to keep things bright?


Down arrow

Pasta with Peruvian Pesto (Tallarines Verde)

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

45 minutes

Tip

Don’t be alarmed if the skillet seems very full after adding the pasta. Use tongs to gently lift and stir the noodles, and a rubber spatula to scrape the edges of the pan.

Ingredients
  • 12

    ounces linguine or fettuccine

  • 1

    cup chopped yellow onion (1 small)

  • ½
  • ¼

    cup water

  • 3

    garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 12

    ounces baby spinach (about 12 cups)

  • ¼

    cup heavy cream

  • 2

    ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)

  • 4

    ounces queso fresco, crumbled (about 1 cup)

  • Lime wedges, to serve

Add Flavor To Grains Thumbnails

MILK STREET BASICS

How to Add Flavor to Grains

Pasta Water Hero Image

Tuesday Nights

Save that pasta water

Step 1 of 3

Cook the pasta

12
ounces linguine or fettuccine

In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Add the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt, then cook until just tender but not fully cooked, about 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1½ cups of the cooking water.

Step 2 of 3

Process the spinach mixture

1
cup chopped yellow onion (1 small)
½
cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼
cup water
3
garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1
teaspoon kosher salt
1
teaspoon ground black pepper
12
ounces baby spinach (about 12 cups)

Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the onion, oil, ¼ cup water, garlic and ½ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add a third of the spinach and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the remaining spinach in 2 batches, processing until smooth after each.

Step 3 of 3

Cook the spinach mixture, coat, and serve

¼
cup heavy cream
2
ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
4
ounces queso fresco, crumbled (about 1 cup)
Lime wedges, to serve

Transfer the spinach mixture to a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to thicken, 3 to 5 minutes.


Add the reserved pasta water and return to a simmer, then add the pasta and stir to coat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente and the pesto no longer appears watery, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream.


Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with the queso fresco and serve with lime wedges.

Milk Street Bowtie Logo

Done!

Did you enjoy this recipe?

Want more?

See More Mains