Friday, January 27, 2012

Pasta with Mascarpone, Lemon, Spinach & Pine Nuts

We loved this pasta dish.  Even my two boys loved it and ate a ton.  Even my pickiest eater!  He thought the greens were parsley and said they didn't taste like anything.  (That's a good thing, coming from him!)  The photo above is of the leftovers, so you can't really see how creamy it was.  The photo below is of the night I made it (but the lighting is bad).  We had this with grilled chicken and roasted asparagus too.... sooo good!
I had to use frozen spinach, since I haven't been able to find any fresh here lately.  I thawed it out overnight in the fridge.  To get the water out, I stuck it in a fine-meshed strainer over a large bowl and smashed the heck out of it with the back of a large serving spoon.  I always thought frozen spinach had a funky taste and texture, but it doesn't, and it was perfect in this dish!  Plus, I think I paid only like $.80 or less for a package.  I'm excited to use more frozen spinach now in soups and pasta dishes. 

I used a new-to-me pasta that I found on Amazon.  It is called Fusilli Bucati, and it is SO cute- like little curly corkscrews.  They are round-ish, and actually have a small hole going through the middle of the pasta.  I love them- can't wait to try mac and cheese and more dishes using this shape. 

The original recipe calls for Meyer lemons, but I have never seen those here, so I just used the juice of a regular lemon.  It was perfect.  I also subbed pine nuts for hazelnuts, and I added Parmesan and garlic powder (too lazy to chop up real garlic!)  I will make this dish again- we really liked it.  For any locals (are you out there?!) I'm able to find the Mascarpone at Continente- it's the store brand.
Pasta with Mascarpone, Lemon, Spinach & Pine Nuts
adapted from the Kitchn

1 teaspoon Meyer (or regular) lemon zest
juice from one Meyer lemon (about 1/4 cup) (or use a regular lemon)
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 teaspoon sea or Kosher salt
a few grinds of fresh pepper
garlic powder, to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional- I left this out)
1/2 pound favorite pasta (8 oz.)
5 cups (loosely packed) fresh spinach, washed, spun dry, and roughly chopped, OR one 10 oz. pckg. frozen spinach, thawed, and excess juices removed :)
1/4-1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1-2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1.  Bring a pot of water to boil and add a little salt.  Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Undercook just slightly, but about a minute.  Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

2  Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, mascarpone cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and optional nutmeg in a bowl.  Whisk to combine.

3.  Return the pasta to the pot, and set over low heat.  Stir in the mascarpone sauce.  Add the spinach and toss so that the spinach begins to wilt.  Add about 1/8-1/4 cup of the pasta water (more if necessary) to keep the sauce creamy and loose but not watery.  Continue to cook and toss until the spinach is cooked and wilted down.  Add the parmesan and pine nuts and stir to combine.  Serve immediately.
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1 comment:

Elvira said...

Simply delicious ! :)