Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sundays with Sparky: Super-Easy Spinach Pasta

Someday, Sparky will go to college. Like it or not, there is a future ahead where he goes out there into the hard, cold world where he will have nobody following behind him making sure he eats his vegetables. Today's recipe is for harried Moms and college students of today, and for my bright Sparky-of-the-future.

When I first ventured out on my own, I was eager to get busy in the kitchen: I was fortunate to have friends to help me negotiate those first few years of single living. A college friend had terrified me with tales of Top Ramen and boxed macaroni and cheese, and I resolved to eat actual food I cooked myself. One rule I learned: if it's too complicated, you won't even try. When I saw this easy recipe on, I made sure to add it to our rotation. It's quick, tasty, and has vegetables as its main feature.

0051 6-oz bag of prewashed baby spinach
8oz pasta of your choice (usually half a box)
3 cloves of garlic
A good slosh of EVOO (Extra-virgin olive oil)
1 cup of ricotta cheese
(OR, if you have a blender, 1 cup cottage cheese + 1/2 tsp cornstarch)
Red pepper flakes, parmesan, salt and pepper to taste

012The one unfortunate part of this recipe is that it does require a clean kitchen sink (don't make it during finals!) Open the bag of spinach, pour it into a colander, rinse it and leave the colander full of spinach in the sink (you can use any delicate bagged salad.) If using cottage cheese, blend it with the cornstarch to creaminess in your blender and set it aside. Peel and mince your garlic (don't skimp on the garlic in this recipe!)

016Cook your pasta according to the package directions (don't forget - salt your pasta water first - salty like the sea!) When the pasta is cooked, pour it slowly over the spinach in the colander and leave it there for a moment. Put the garlic and olive oil in your now-empty pot and saute it over medium heat until it bubbles and is fragrant. Remove from heat, and add back the spinach and pasta, toss, and season to taste. Stir in the cheese and serve immediately. Top each serving with parmesan.

We doubled this recipe in these photos - don't do that, it makes a CRAZY amount of food and the spinach clumps together and is hard to distribute; use the proportions listed above, which should make about 4 servings. (We also had some leftover cooked chicken that we added to the pasta at the last minute to heat it up; you can do that if you want to add some meat.) Enjoy!


Fleur said...

This looks really good. I love spinach.

Michele Hays said...

Thanks, Fleur! Please post back if you try it!

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