PASTA CON CREMA DI SPINACI – PASTA WITH SPINACH SAUCE

Recipe n. 15

When my son was still learning colors, among his big collection of trains from ‘Thomas the tank engine and his friends‘, there was one train in particular which was green. It is a very dark green and for this reason every time we refer to this train we emphasize it calling it the ‘deep dark green train’, exactly the same color as this delicious creamy sauce for pasta, which reminds me of that train. I have been making this sauce for pasta for years. By now it has became part of our recurring family menu. It’s an easy and quick recipe and a light dish to enjoy for lunch or dinner. Sometimes I make this sauce in big batches and freeze it to have it handy on days when you don’t have much time to cook but you don’t want to end up eating take out food.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh spinach washed
  • ¼ cup rice milk (I like to use rice milk instead of regular milk because it’s lighter and gives a sweeter taste to the sauce with no need to add any butter or cream)
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup fresh ricotta, optional (I usually make this sauce without ricotta, unless I ‘m having a guest for lunch and want to obtain a richer taste and consistency)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • ¾ lb your favorite short pasta

In a medium sized pot bring the water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Take the spinach from the pot and drain excess water. Put to the side and let it cool. In a food processor add the spinach, rice milk, Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Mix to obtain a creamy consistency.  Bring again to a boil the same pot with water you have used to cook the spinach and add pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain the water and in a large bowl mix pasta with the spinach sauce. Add some extra Parmesan cheese to garnish.

Recipe n.10

May 1, 2010

PASTA con BROCCOLI, NOCI e UVA PASSA – PASTA with BROCCOLI FLORETS , WALNUTS and RAISINS

Being Italian you would guess that I eat pasta everyday. I used to, especially when I was living in Italy, but now that I have also embraced other ways of cooking I eat pasta dishes less often. Since we also eat less meat, I’m always trying to add protein to our dishes from other sources such as nuts. I remember the day I came up with this recipe, it wasn’t that long ago: the evening I made this for the first time I was happily surprised looking at my son finally eating broccoli and enjoying it!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pasta (I use short whole wheat pasta)
  • 1 large broccoli head
  • 2 garlic cloves thinly chopped
  • ½ cup  raisins ( I like to use dried Zante currants)
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • olive oil
  • fresh  chopped parsley for garnish
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper

Wash and chop  the broccoli into florets.  In a large pot with water, where you are also going to cook pasta, place a steamer on top with the broccoli florets. Bring to boil and after the florets are steamed put to the side. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. In the meantime in a large skillet with olive oil add the garlic, florets, raisins, walnuts , red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Cook for about 10 minutes and remove from the heat. Drain pasta when it is cooked, and in a large bowl mix the pasta  with the broccoli dressing and sprinkle with  fresh chopped parsley.

Recipe n. 7

April 26, 2010

PASTA e PATATE – PASTA and POTATOES

I get a feeling of comfort when I eat this dish especially when it’s rainy and  stormy outside. I cook this dish during those days or when I forgot to go to the grocery store the day before  and my refrigerator is half empty. It’s also a dish that cooks almost by itself without requiring my full attention while I’m preparing it. It’s easy  to make and delicious to eat. It’s a typical dish of southern Italian cooking, born originally in Naples. It is considered  ‘un piatto povero’ and yet it’s a very popular dish with a rich taste, made with simple ingredients, potatoes and mixed pasta. There are many ways of making it out there. This is my version:

PASTA and POTATOES

Ingredients

  • ½ lb short mixed pasta
  • 3  large potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 garlic clove thinly chopped
  • vegetable broth (or just water)
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • Parmesan cheese (1 Crust plus grated)
  • parsley
  • olive oil
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper

Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil in a large pot and add the potatoes. Cook for a few  more minutes and  add enough broth to cover the potatoes. Add the bay leaf, salt and pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a crust of Parmesan cheese. Cook until the potatoes are soft and add the pasta, with more water if necessary, and cook until ‘al dente’. Remove from the heat and let pasta cook while it’s sitting in the pot. Add fresh chopped parsley and adjust with salt and pepper. Serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

Tip: You can use any kind of short pasta that you have already opened in your cupboard and mix them together, as long as they hold the same cooking time. I like to mix some broken spaghetti with short pasta.

%d bloggers like this: