In the spirit of switching things up I bring you more of a main dish than my usual desert. Today, I bring you some complex PASTA! Yes, I am being facetious, however, not so much in my case. For some reason while being adept at desert preparation I have typically had a hard time with main dishes, as is indicative of the posts on this site. Please don’t judge me by my “opportunities”. Not sure why I find it so challenging but anyway here goes nothing.
Pasta With Tomatoes, Spinach and Goat Cheese
1 6-ounce bag baby spinach, rinsed, or 1 bunch (about 12 ounces) fresh spinach, stemmed and washed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound fresh, ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped or grated
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons slivered basil
3/4 pound farfalle or fusilli
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1. Begin heating a large pot of water for the pasta. Wash the spinach, and wilt in batches over high heat in a large frying pan. Transfer to a colander, rinse with cold water and then squeeze dry. Coarsely chop and set aside.
2. Dry the pan, and heat over medium heat. Add the olive oil and the garlic. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Stir in the tomatoes. Turn up the heat to medium-high, and cook the tomatoes, stirring often, until they have cooked down to a fragrant sauce, 10 to 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the basil and spinach. Keep warm.
3. When the pasta water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the pasta. Cook until just al dente and firm to the bite. Add a ladleful of the pasta water to the pan with the tomatoes and spinach, then drain the pasta and toss immediately with the tomato-spinach mixture and the goat cheese, which should melt. Serve at once.
Yield: Serves four.
Advance preparation: Wilted spinach will keep in a covered bowl in the refrigerator about four days. You can make this through Step 2 several hours before you cook the pasta. Reheat the tomato and spinach mixture, and make sure to thin out with a ladleful of the pasta water before tossing with the pasta and goat cheese.
As usual I took some liberties with this dish. I substituted Fontina cheese for the Goat (I know not a valid substitute) it’s what I had in the house (did not melt very well either). Regardless, watch the wilting process I almost burned the spinach. The sauce comes together very easy and thickens nicely even after adding the ladle of starchy pasta water. I must admit this dish was a nice reprieve from the leftovers after Thanksgiving. I admit I love the indulgence of the Holidays, but when you have the leftovers for a week plus it weighs on you, literally. Overall, this recipe is a nice addition to my repertoire and can save you in a pinch. Put the leftovers away and make a sandwich tomorrow, try this tonight for the swoon!