I needed a break. A savory break. Between the cake I just posted about and the Sugar Coma tour I was taking part in Saturday, my taste buds were a little sweet-ed out. Needing a quick lunch and something that would get me through a long day, I put this dish together in about 15 minutes. It's filling but not overly so...and it's so green & (relatively) healthy. Despite the fact that it carried me over easily till dinner, I didn't get that heavy pasta gut bomb sensation. Maybe the good-for-you greenness of it psyched me out!
While I ate this as a quick main course, this would be a great side dish for any type of protein. Dress it up with garlic, other veggies, toasted walnuts or pine nuts - whatever else you have on hand. One note of caution: this pasta doesn't reheat so well without the addition of a little sauce or extra lemon juice so take that into account if you're thinking about next-day leftovers.
Spinach Mascarpone Pasta - serves 4 as a small entree or
side dish - inspired by a recipe on bbcgoodfood.com
- 1 16 oz. box dried curly shaped pasta such as fusilli or cavatappi
- 1 6 oz. bag of pre-washed & prepped baby spinach leaves
- 6 oz. Mascarpone cheese
- juice and zest of 2 lemons
- 6 tablespoons of finely grated Parmesan cheese + 2 tbsp. for garnish
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives, for garnish
- salt & pepper, to taste
- Start a large pot of water to boil. When the water is up to a gently rolling boil, add pasta and cook to al dente according to the directions on the box.
- While pasta is cooking, set up a relatively large capacity food processor. To the processor add 3/4 of the bag of prepared baby spinach, Mascarpone cheese, lemon juice and 6 tablespoons of finely grated Parmesan cheese. Puree until smooth and well-incorporated. Set aside.
- When pasta is cooked to desired texture, drain and return pan to the stove and heat on low. Add pasta back to pot and add spinach sauce. At this point, taste your pasta and then salt & pepper to taste - keep in mind the finished dish will get a light sprinkle of the salty Parmesan on top right before serving. Stir in lemon zest and remaining baby spinach leaves and heat until pasta & sauce are warmed through and the spinach is just wilted. Divide into bowls, top with a sprinkle of chives & Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.