A blog by ordinary people about living an extraordinary life
Below is a recreation of an actual exchange of text messages between Meg and a friend of ours after dinner one night.
Sometimes when the choices at the grocery store are not satisfying you, you just need to find a way to make it yourself. Now I am not expecting that everyone wants to start making their own homemade pasta, though I will recommend it. However, I do think that the real key to this dinner was the flavor imparted from the quick and easy spinach, oil and garlic sauce that I served with the pasta. You can really use any green, the last time I made this I used arugala. And having fresh ingredients is always best, so if you have some fresh pasta (which you can find at any grocery store, usually in a refrigerated section), some fresh greens and some freshly shaved Parmesan cheese, they will impart the biggest flavor. A few red pepper flakes add a slight kick which definitely puts this dish over the top.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously. I have heard that your pasta water should be as salty as seawater. This is the only time to really get any flavor into the pasta. Cook the pasta as directed. As the pasta is cooking, carefully removed 1/2 cup of the cooking water which you will use in the sauce. This water contains some starches from the pasta and will help to add some depth to your sauce.
In a large saute pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the olive oil. Saute the sliced garlic for 2-3 minutes. You want to make sure that the garlic does not burn as it will turn bitter. Season with salt, pepper and toss in a few red pepper flakes. Add the greens. Pour in the reserved pasta water, bring to a low simmer, cover. Allow the greens to wilt down for about 5 minutes.
To the sauce, add the cooked pasta. Toss to coat the pasta with the sauce and to warm the pasta back up. If your timing is perfect you can actually remove the pasta from the boiling water and add it right to the sauce at this point, but my timing is no so impecable. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the pasta and add more red pepper flake if you want some additional kick.
This recipe makes 4 servings, and I have found that the leftovers make a great lunch.