Today I present a supremely easy, light and healthy one-pot pasta dish. Start to finish, I bet you could pull this together in fifteen to twenty minutes. It’s super versatile, too. If you don’t like gorgonzola, use a different kind of cheese! Find a beautiful bunch of chard? Sub chard for the spinach! Add roasted winter vegetables or white beans!
In keeping with the light and simple spirit of this dish, I’ll keep the words to a minimum. A couple of my favorite friends (and their funny mutt, Maybe) are coming to town and staying with Cookie and me this weekend. I’m so eager to shut down the computer and enjoy the company of good friends that I can hardly sit still.
As with any simple dish, quality ingredients are key. Start with whole wheat orecchiette or any small whole wheat pasta (rotini or penne may be easier to find). Seek out the freshest greens possible. This spinach from Peach Crest Farm in Stratford, Oklahoma, puts the regular store brands to shame.
My friend Matt and I actually visited Peach Crest a couple of weeks ago. We plucked spinach leaves straight from the source, glittering with dirt. Best spinach I’ve ever tasted. (I’ll share more about our trip to Peach Crest later.)
The spinach is so good that Cookie literally begged for it. She kept sneaking off with spinach leaves from the table while I was taking pictures!
Today’s recipe is inspired by a simple recipe I found in the spring section of Vegetables from an Italian Garden. Fortunately James from Peach Crest says he’ll be able to grow spinach all winter long, so I’ll be able to enjoy this meal from now through spring!
Rather than sautéeing the spinach with shallot in olive oil, I took a shortcut that I picked up while reading Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook. The secret to quickly steaming greens for pasta is this: once the pasta is done cooking, just throw the greens into the pot, wait a few seconds, and drain!
- 6 to 8 ounces of spinach (or other fresh greens)
- 12 ounce package of whole wheat orecchiette (or any other small pasta shape)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese (or more)
- 1/4 cup milk
- one lemon, juiced
- salt and pepper
- Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil. Add your pasta and cook until al dente, according to the directions on the box.
- Rinse off the spinach. If desired, roughly chop your spinach into slightly smaller pieces.
- In a small bowl, mix together the milk, gorgonzola and the juice of one lemon.
- Once the pasta is done cooking, toss in the spinach, stir, and cook for about 10 to 15 seconds . Drain. Drizzle in the olive oil and pour in your gorgonzola sauce. Stir, and enjoy!
Guess what?! In my haste to publish my Wassail post, I neglected to mention that I have several cookbook giveaways lined up for the month of December. I’m developing a serious cookbook obsession (and a collection that goes with it) and I’m excited to share the wealth. It’s my little holiday gift to you!
Today I’m giving away a copy of Vegetables from an Italian Garden, a visually stunning cookbook organized by season, then further broken down by vegetable. Most of the recipes are vegetarian; all of them call for a healthy dose of vegetables. It’s an inspiring, coffee table-worthy book full of wholesome recipes from Silver Spoon Kitchen. (Pssst… this book would be a wonderful gift for the avid cooks on your list.)
For a chance to win a copy of Vegetables from an Italian Garden, leave a comment below and tell me your favorite Italian dish!
The fine print: You have until midnight CST on Wednesday, December 14th, to leave your comment for a chance to win. I will notify the winner by email on Saturday; the winner must reply within 7 days with a valid mailing address or I will randomly select another winner. Good luck!
Update: Congratulations to Susy, whose favorite Italian meal is pizza margherita, for winning the giveaway! Best of luck to all in future giveaways!