Cheesy Spinach Alfredo on Penne

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With all the many greens Hubs and I have been receiving from our CSA Box each week, we haven’t had a need to buy any at the store. Last week, though, I bought two bags of spinach, thinking my family might eat it in addition to our Box while they were in town for my college graduation. Well, they didn’t eat much at all; so I had to think of something to do with it before it got bad…

To my delight, I thought up a spinach Alfredo-sort-of pasta recipe made with a cheesy cream sauce, sautéed spinach and penne pasta. (Mixing whole grain pasta with the white would have added some extra flavor but alas I had none.) I also used some Green Garlic from our Box (pictured below at the time of harvest):

 

Creamy Spinach Alfredo on Penne

Ingredients

  • 2 TBS oil (olive or canola)
  • 1/2 onion, minced very small
  • 2 green garlic heads, minced  + a small handful of the stalk, chopped
  • 1 1/2 bags of spinach
  • water
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 box penne pasta (whole wheat or white, or some of both)
  • 1 box of cream cheese (reduced fat or real, it doesn’t matter), cut in half
  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), chopped
  • 1 cup of mozzarella cheese

Directions

1. Heat up oil on the stove in a pan on medium heat. Saute onion and green garlic for 2-3 minutes. Add 1 cup of spinach and a little bit of water. Put a lid on the pan and let the spinach steam until it’s flat, 3-5 minutes. Then remove spinach and set aside in a bowl. Do the same to the rest of the spinach, one cup at a time with a little water (no need to add more onion or garlic) until all the spinach is cooked. Yes, the result is that you will have–what looks like–LESS spinach than what you started with. ;)

2. While spinach is steaming, heat up a pot of water with a pinch of salt. Once boiling, add pasta and cook until desired doneness. Then drain in a colander in the sink. Do not rinse.

3. Put half of the box of cream cheese in the bottom of the empty pasta pot. Pour pasta back on top and add other half of cream cheese and the butter and the pepper. Mix and mix and mix until everything is melted (turn stove on LOW if needed to heat up pasta). Add spinach and mix until evenly distributed.

4. Pour cream-cheese-spinach-pasta into a casserole dish (I used a 9″ round Corningware pan), pouring mozzarella cheese on top. Put dish in the oven on 400°F for about 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

 

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Enjoy!!

P.S.  It’s really delicious seasoned with red pepper flakes!

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