Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spinach and Pine Nut Pasta

Just when you thought you couldn't possibly consume one more green smoothie, alas, a solution!
And you thought pine nuts were only for going into pesto?
Prepare to have your world rocked.

Because friends, I have here a recipe for the easiest and tastiest pasta ever.
Also, it's only around 420 calories a serving.

You're welcome.

Okay enough gloating.  Here's what you'll need:

1.  1-lb. bag of tortellini.  Doesn't matter what kind. Use what is cheap you like.
2.  Bag of baby spinach.
3.  Container of sliced portobello mushrooms.  You could slice them yourself if you're feeling extra Martha Stewart but I've got more important things to do than cut up mushrooms.
4.  Pint of cherry tomatoes, halved.  You're going to have do the slicing on this one, because they don't make pre-halved cherry tomatoes.  I checked.
5.  Garlic.
6.  Pine nuts.
7.  Cheese of your choice (not shown).
8.  Extra virgin olive oil (also not shown).  

Alright, let's make this bitch!

1.  Boil the pasta according to the provided instructions.  Duh.
2.  Meanwhile, heat up a few tablespoons of EVOO (yeah, I just Rachel Ray'ed you) in a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add mushrooms, tomatoes, and one clove of minced garlic (if you're a freak like me and have a 97-gallon tub of minced garlic in your fridge, 1/2 tsp = 1 clove).

3.  When mushrooms have started to soften (about 2-3 minutes), add ENTIRE bag of spinach.  You're going to have a spinach mountain and you'll wonder why the hell you ever decided to follow one of my recipes.  REMAIN.  CALM.

The spinach is going to cook down quickly, so just gently poke it down into the pan until its volume is reduced enough that you can stir it without making a huge, spinachey mess.

See?  Not so scary.

4.  Your pasta should be cooked and drained and transferred either back into the pot or into a serving dish right now.  If you've managed to forget this step, you should probably go do it now.

5.  Add the contents of your skillet to the pasta, INCLUDING that weird spinach/tomato/olive oil water at the bottom.  This is a sauce-less pasta, but not having any moisture at all would be gross and not very tasty.  That's what she said.

6.  Divvy up your dish among bowls and sprinkle (liberally) with pine nuts* and cheese of your choice.  Parmesan is always a good go-to, but Pecorino Romano is practically made for this dish.  The nuttiness of the cheese plays off the pine nuts' flavor beautifully. 

7.  Resist the urge to dump salt over everything, you cholesterol-loving American.  The pine nuts and cheese will provide plenty of flavor.

8.  Enjoy!

* Pine nuts, if you don't already know this, are a tree nut, so if you're allergic to things like peanuts, do not use them unless you are trying to commit literal culinary suicide or have an epi-pen handy.
** You're going to have a bunch of pine nuts left over.  Just seal 'em up in a ziploc bag and pop 'em in the freezer.  Makes excellent snack.  And no, the nuts won't actually freeze.  Yeesh, learn to trust me, why don't ya?

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