I’ve had this recipe in my Food Network Recipe box for the longest time… Penne with Spinach Sauce is a recipe from Giada DeLaurentiis that I have found fascinating since I first saw it on TV.
I did this recipe off the top of my head for my French conversation class group, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that I actually made it almost the same as the original. Two of my friends asked me for dish using spinach… so I knew they would enjoy it. But Katherine is not a spinach fan, and she loved this dish. She said the goat cheese in the sauce made it for her. So this can be something to try on your little ones… Call it Shrek’s pasta.
I used local fresh spinach, with a somewhat larger leaf than the one you get at the supermarket. Remember to wash your spinach well before using it in this recipe…
FRESH BABY SPINACH PASTA
¾ pound of whole-wheat pasta – I used penne, but any tubular pasta would do 2 cups of fresh baby spinach leaves, loosely packed, divided 3 ounces of goat cheese 3 ounces of cream cheese 1 small garlic clove, cut in small pieces 2 turns of the food processor of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Salt and Pepper to taste ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese, plus more to sprinkle on top to taste
- Boil the pasta in salted boiling water according to packaging directions.
- Wash and dry well the spinach leaves. Set aside a small bunch aside and chop.
- Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, add most of the spinach leaves you have not chopped, goat cheese, cream cheese, garlic clove, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pulse a few times until the mixture becomes a light green paste.
- When pasta is done, drain well while reserving about 1 cup of the cooking water.
- Return the pasta to the pot and add the spinach mixture. Mix well so the sauce loosens with the heat of the pasta and pot. Add pasta water little by little to loosen the sauce to a creamy consistency. Add the chopped spinach leaves and the Parmesan cheese and mix well.
- Sprinkle more Parmesan cheese on top.
To reheat this pasta, I added a small amount of milk to a small pot together with the left-over pasta. I also added a bit of cream cheese and more Parmesan cheese. The sauce was creamy and delicious again as it was when done originally.