Penne with Pesto Cream Sauce

  • 1 lb. penne; cooked al dente, drained, and shocked
  • 1 large red onion; thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 3 cloves. fresh garlic; minced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup prepared pesto sauce
  • 1 ½ cups tomatoes; small dice
  • ½ lb. baby spinach
  • 1 cup peas; defrosted
  • ½ cup pine nuts; toasted in a dry pan
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, shredded

In a small sauté pan, cook butter until it starts to foam and whisk in flour. Cook on low heat, stirring often, until mixture becomes sandy in texture and light brown in color. Set aside to cool. In a large saucepan ( large enough to fit all ingredients), sauté onions in olive oil until soft and translucent. Add garlic, and continue cooking until fragrant. Add white wine to deglaze pan, and cook until the wine is almost reduced completely, then add milk. Bring mixture to a simmer, and whisk in the roux to avoid creating lumps. Reduce heat to low, and cook until thickened. Add salt, pepper, and pesto. Cook for about 5 more minutes and add lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Add pasta to reheat. Toss pasta with sauce, tomatoes, peas, pine nuts, and baby spinach. Cook just until spinach starts to wilt. Garnish with parmesan cheese.

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