When I have lots of fresh spinach in the fridge there's a pasta recipe I inevitably turn to for a quick, healthy, and delicious meal: Green Pasta. I use cooked spaghetti and spinach as the base and then add in whatever else I have in the fridge that would be a nice complement. Tonight it was chicken, asparagus, and cremini mushrooms. I mix all the cooked ingredients together and then dress it with a mixture of olive oil, butter, and Parmesan cheese--a small amount because my aim is to keep it healthy. But what I really like about this dish is that you can combine practically any ingredients you have on hand and make whatever kind of sauce you like. I've made a sauce for it out of Vachequirit cheese and soy cream and it worked perfectly. We're not spicy food eaters in our house, but adding a teaspoon or so of red pepper flakes when you're sauteing the spinach or making the sauce might be good.
Tonight I used a delicious store bought Pesto as my sauce. Ordinarily I make my own pesto but I'm out of fresh basil at the moment. I go easy on the amount of store bought pesto because it tends to be heavier and saltier than what I make at home. I'm not the best at measurements, but here is my recipe for Green Pasta.
1/2 package spaghetti
6-10 cups fresh baby spinach (however much you like- it cooks down a lot)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 bundle of asparagus, chopped into 1" pieces
1 c mushrooms, sliced
1/3 c store bought or homemade pesto (increase or decrease quantity to taste)
1/2 c grated Parmesan
1-2 T olive oil
1. While the spaghetti is cooking, chop the chicken into small pieces and saute until golden brown. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.
2. In 1T of olive oil saute the asparagus until tender, about 5-7 minutes (shorter if you like it crunchier). Remove from pan and set aside with chicken.
3. In same pan, add the remaining 1T of olive oil and cook mushrooms for 3-5 minutes, until they shrink a bit and start to turn brown. Add spinach and cook until wilted, stirring spinach and mushrooms together. This goes quickly, maybe 2-3 minutes.
4. Once the pasta is cooked and drained, add the chicken, asparagus, mushrooms and spinach and mix. Add pesto and mix well. Top with Parmesan and serve.
This with a glass of wine is pure heaven.
On a different note, I can't wait for our CSA box to get here today. What will be inside?