I love adding nuts to my gravies, especially almonds and cashews. I think they totally transform a dish from plain & boring to creamy & delicious. For example, would you prefer to have “Pasta in Spinach sauce” (oh.. blah) or “Pasta in Creamy Spinach-Almond sauce” (oh.. yay.. yummy). I chose the second one and I have to tell you, I was licking every utensil that came in touch with that sauce, it was sooo good.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve pasta cooking water for later use.
Dry roast almonds in a skillet. Remove and keep aside.
Heat 1tbsp olive oil in a large skillet; add onions and garlic; sauté on medium flame until lightly browned around edges, about 8-10 minutes. Add tomatoes; cover and cook till they turn into mush, about 5 minutes. Add spinach and basil; cook till wilted, about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper & red pepper flakes. Blend spinach mixture with the almonds into a smooth paste.
Heat 1tbsp olive oil in the same skillet, add onions and sauté till slightly browned. Add broccoli & chickpeas; cover and cook till tender. Add the spinach puree and ½-1 cup of pasta cooking water. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer till it reaches desired consistency.
Serve over pasta (you can mix the sauce with pasta, but I prefer serving them separate, as you can add as much or as little sauce as you want. I like mine with a lot of sauce and pasta tends to soak up all the sauce when mixed early).
This dish goes to Cooking for Kids-Leafy Greens event. I'll be posting the round up at the end of this week, so send them in by Friday, the latest.