Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Creamy Roasted Garlic Spinach Pasta

It's April, it's distinctly spring, and new veggies are on the horizon, but for most of the winter, there's been a lot of spinach in my life.  Year-round there's a lot of spinach in my life, but there has been less variety lately, so spinach is at the forefront.

This is one of those dishes where you can very easily swap in and out whatever appeals to you or whatever is left in your fridge and it'll still taste like you put way more time and effort into it than you did.

I start with roasting garlic, which takes way more time than the rest of this dish, but it's not your time, it's just oven time. Get this started in advance and walk away. 

Cut the end off a head of garlic making sure to expose all the cloves. 

The green bits there?  That means the garlic is "mature" and if I was just quickly cooking it, I'd pull them out because they can be bitter, but since I'm roasting it, I'm not going to worry about it.  Make your own call. 

You'll want to wrap it in foil or place it in a small sealable oven-safe container.  Spritz it with olive oil. 

Stash it in the oven at 400 for an hour.  Wait half an hour and then start the rest of this dish. You have time to put on a load of laundry, or watch an episode of How I Met Your Mother

Are you back?  Ok.  Let's start.   Half an onion (I used red) chopped up and cooked in very little olive oil until transparent.

A big bunch of chopped spinach, wilted on top. 

It's very easy to roast and freeze peppers in the summer when they're plentiful and then use them all winter long.  If you don't have a freezer stash, you can get them in jars without anything creepy added too.  

Add a cup of white wine.

This wine has been in the fridge so long that each time MSNDG looks in there she says, "That can't still be good," and then she has a glass.  It's fine. 
And simmer it all on med-low.  Meanwhile, get some pasta going.  I can't make spaghetti with my machine, so this is grocery store pasta. 

I keep some of the less frequently used dairy products in small amounts in the freezer, so I don't have to go out and buy a carton every time I want to use buttermilk.  This is a half cup of heavy cream, but you could easily sub with a non-dairy cream (cashew?) and it'd be great.   I added a tablespoon of flour and whisked it together. 

Ok, I forked it together. 

And added it to the sauce. 

The only remaining hint of the series of basil plants I killed last summer.  Fresh would be great here. You can put fresh basil in a paper bag and eventually it just turns into dried basil.  It's a low-effort activity. 

And a splash of lemon juice.  We're still simmering med-low. 

And some parmesan. To taste, of course. 

Is your garlic ready?  Mine is.  Take it out of the oven and open the foil immediately to help it cool.  You need to be able to touch it.  Remove the cloves. 

Chop them a bit and toss them into your sauce.  Keep simmering.  Is your pasta almost ready?  You want to stop your pasta when it's *almost* ready. 

Give your sauce a stir.  You want it to be fairly thick - not like cheese, but not like water.  Kind of like this:

Simmer longer if it's not ready.   Then add your pasta. 

Toss it together, still over medium-low until everything is coated.  Then keep moving it around for another minute or two.   Add salt and red pepper flakes to taste. 

Serve hot. 

print recipe

Creamy Roasted Garlic Spinach Pasta
Not a heavy sauce, but flavorful and creamy and perfect for the veg you have on hand. Substitute away!
  • 4 servings al dente spaghetti or other pasta
  • 1/2 cup cream (dairy or otherwise)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup diced roasted red pepper
  • 1/4 pound chopped spinach
  • 1 head garlic, roasted
  • 1 tsp olive oil for the pan, spritz of olive oil for garlic
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon (to taste, depends on parmesan) salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (to taste) red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon (to taste) basil
  • about a tablespoon (to taste) parmesan cheese
Begin by roasting garlic - cut off the end of the head exposing the cloves and spritz with olive oil. Wrap in foil and roast at 400 for an hour.Saute onion in olive oil, add chopped spinach and roasted pepper. Add wine. Simmer med-low. Mix flour and cream. Stir in. Add basil, lemon, parmesan, salt and red pepper flakes. Stir and simmer until reasonably thick. Chop roasted garlic and stir in. Add nearly-cooked pasta and toss to coat. Keep on med-low another minute or two.
Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 servings

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