This pasta is so yummy and easy! But…I learned an important lesson when I served it to friends this past Friday – don’t overcook it. Due to circumstances I ended up starting this sauce too early. By the time we were ready to eat the tomatoes had all broken down and it had a completely different flavor. So, if you’re going to make this, start it about 15 minutes before you’re ready to eat. Also, on Saturday I served this over penne but I really liked it on spaghetti a lot better.
- pine nuts
- spaghetti (whole wheat or regular)
- olive oil
- several cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
- cherry (or grape) tomatoes, sliced in half
- spinach, big, leafy, fresh spinach – I think the flavor here is so much better if you’re able to get some fresh grown cooking spinach as opposed to the bagged baby stuff. Both will work but if you can get fresh spinach from your CSA or Farmer’s Market jump on it!
- firm goat cheese, grated
- olive oil
Bring water to boil in a large pot and cook spaghetti according to instructions. Meanwhile, roast your pine nuts. Simply add to a frying pan over medium heat and roast, stirring frequently, until toasted. The nuts can burn really easily so watch carefully.
Removed the pine nuts from the pan and set aside. In the same pan heat some olive oil over medium to low heat and add a bit of butter. This really rounds out the flavor of the pasta – you don’t need to add a lot, just a bit for flavor. Add the crushed garlic and saute slowly.
You do want to be careful here not to burn the garlic. Once it’s burnt it turns dark yellow or brown and gets really bitter and that is not the flavor we’re looking for here. Once garlic begins to soften add the tomatoes and saute for a few minutes.
At this point your spaghetti should be getting close to done. When it only has a minute or two left add the spinach to the tomatoes and garlic. Saute until spinach wilts and you have a nice sauce.
Drain pasta and return to pot. Add spinach, tomato and garlic mixture, being sure to scrape out all the sauce onto the pasta. Add grated goat cheese and pine nuts and mix over very low heat to allow the cheese to melt a bit.
Here’s a bit of a product plug. The following goat cheese is perfect for this dish. It’s really mild and firm so the flavor ends up being there but not too “goaty”.
Anyway, back to the recipe. Mix well and top with some extra cheese. Serve promptly because this tastes much better when it’s piping hot!
And again, I’m serious about wanting new names for this recipe. I don’t really like the one I’m using so please make suggestions!