There’s no doubt that if March was a color, it would be green. These days, we all could benefit by eating more greens so here’s our trifecta green dish that is easy to whip up and versatile enough to feature any green you’d like.
I easily make pasta 2 -3 times a week, the type of meal I don’t really need a recipe for and can use what’s on hand whether it be greens, tomatoes, beans, onions, chicken, shrimp… you get the picture. Plus, for the most part it’s a guaranteed dish my picky husband and 5 year old will eat.
Today’s triple greens: Baby spinach – If you’ve cooked leafy greens before, you know how much they wilt down during the cooking process – a huge bunch of spinach could easily be eaten by one person! I love add freshly grated nutmeg when sautéing spinach – a super flavor combo that you must try.
Italian parsley – also known as flat-leaf, this is the usual garnish (along with grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese) for most of my pasta meals.
Castelvetrano green olives – My most favorite olives from Sicily. Big, bright green and buttery, these are also fairly mild – if you think you don’t like olives (i.e. the kind stuffed with pimentos), try these and you may change your mind!
This is not so much a recipe as an outline for an easy pasta meal; this one is triple green: spinach, parsley and buttery Castelvetrano green olives.
4 ounces penne pasta, uncooked
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced (1 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cups chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, including stems
6–7 cups baby spinach (about 5 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup pasta water
1/3 cup Castelvetrano green olives (or other green olives), pitted and sliced (about 12)
1/2 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)
In a large stockpot, cook the pasta according to package directions, but boil 1 minute less than instructed. Drain the pasta, and save 1/4 cup of the cooking water.
While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper, and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the parsley and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the spinach, nutmeg, pepper, and salt, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is wilted.
Add the pasta and the reserved 1/4 cup pasta water to the skillet. Stir in the olives, and cook for about 2 minutes, until most of the pasta water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat, stir in the cheese, and serve.
In summer, substitute chopped zucchini for the spinach, and in winter, try chopped kale or shredded cabbage. The trick is to undercook the pasta by about a minute so when it’s added to the pan sauce, it soaks up all the flavors of the garlic and spices.
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:15 minutes
What are your favorite greens to cook? Do you have a favorite green combo?
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Saturday 9th of March 2013
This looks delicious - and really packs in the nutrition punch with all of those greens!
Sharon Gifford (@SSGifford)
Thursday 7th of March 2013
This recipe looks delicious. I love the green ingredients. I think it would be great with Al Dente Pasta Spinach Fettuccine, which is also green, or their whole wheat chia pasta. Both flavors are so healthy! Al Dente Pasta is so light and homemade tasting, and cooks in just three minutes.
Thursday 7th of March 2013
Now why I didn't I think about using spinach pasta - brilliant!