garlic and goat cheese pasta
Originally uploaded by Kit Pollard.
"What's the name of that skinny Italian girl, again?"
Cooper can never remember what Giada DeLaurentis is called, but he does think she's pretty (though way too thin to be a chef. He thinks she has an eating disorder. I think she just has good metabolic genes.) The other day, he spent a little time watching the Food Network, and came away with more ideas for dinner than he's had, well, ever.
He watched Giada make this spinach and pasta dish, thinking that it sounded good and, unlike most of what we eat, relatively healthy. For the next few days, he talked about it enough that I eventually broke down and printed out the recipe with plans to make it.
And it did look good, though I thought it might be a little bland. No matter, I can take care of that. Plus, I already had nearly all of the ingredients in my refrigerator. All I needed to buy was one big bag of baby spinach. And some bread, of course. I can't deal with being too healthy.
While at Trader Joe's, I decided to pick up a bag of frozen shrimp to add to the mix - one pound of 31/40s. I was super glad I did, too - because without it, the dish would've been so green it might've died our skin.
It's a totally simple meal - just involves some Cuisinart work and boiling water for pasta, really. Mince a couple of cloves of garlic in the Cuisinart. This is the only spot where I ran into trouble. The recipe calls for three...I used eight. As Cooper mentioned later, he did suggest that I make the sauce as directed, then add more cloves if I wanted. But no. I got cocky, and just added a ton of garlic. The end result wasn't terrible, but it did have a bite. And when I woke up this morning and thought I smelled garlic in my hair, I conceded that the garlic was too much. Five cloves would've been perfect.
Back to the recipe. On top of the garlic, add 4 ounces of goat cheese, 1 ounce of light cream cheese, half a bag of fresh baby spinach, salt and pepper (I also added a pinch of cayenne pepper). Blend until smooth. You've got your sauce.
Cook the pasta and drain, reserving about 1 cup of the water. If you're adding shrimp or chicken, cook that, too. Once everything is just about ready, put the rest of the bag of spinach into a big bowl and place the pasta (and shrimp or chicken) on top. Spoon the sauce over the pasta and mix, adding some of the reserved water for moisture if necessary. I only needed to add a tiny bit.
Top with grated Parmesan and serve. I mean - really, really easy. And it was good - very good. And light - it would be great in the summer. Except for the garlic thing. Five cloves, next time. Really. Five cloves.