Pasta with Spinach and Red Onions

 

This pasta was beautiful. I know, I made it, and this is not very modest of me, but it really was beautiful. The spinach was a lovely green touch, the red onions were warm and rich, and I added a little dried cranberries and crushed pecans for extra flavor. When I made it, it was a little dry, but this is easily fixed by adding a little stock to the vegetables as you cook them, or a little of the water you cooked the pasta in.

I’ve been a little vague on the measurements for the pasta and spinach because this really depends on you, and how much you want to use. I usually use a handful of pasta for two people. In this case, I used two small fettuccine nests, which made a medium-sized portion for one person. I also used a small bunch of baby spinach. With spinach, remember it really cooks down to about a third (at least!) of its size, so make allowances for that.This recipe is for one serving of pasta — enough for one person.

You need:

  1. 1 small fettuccine nests, or enough pasta for one person
  2. 1 small bunch baby spinach, washed and drained
  3. 2 tbsp crushed pecans or walnuts
  4. 2 tbsp dried sweetened cranberries or raisins
  5. Salt and white pepper to taste (you can use black pepper)
  6. Olive oil for cooking
  7. Romano or parmesan cheese (or any other hard cheese you like to eat over pasta)

How to:

  1. Put six cups of water (or enough to cook the pasta) in a saucepan. Add 1 tsp oil and 1 tsp salt and bring to boil. When it boils, add the pasta. Cool until al dente–cooked through, but when you eat it, it should still be very, very slightly hard, not mushy.
  2. Cut the onions into very thin slices.
  3. Put 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan (more if your pan is not non-stick). When it is hot, add the onions, Stir and let it cook, stirring occasionally.
  4. Give the spinach a very rough chop (just once or twice).
  5. When the onions are cooked (but before the caramelize), add the spinach. The onions should still be a bit crunchy. Stir the spinach in. Add 1 tsp salt and stir again.
  6. Drain the pasta and arrange on a plate.
  7. When the spinach is just wilted, add the cranberries, pecans, and white pepper. Stir gently. If it is too dry, add a little stock or pasta cooking water and stir gently. If you added too much, let it cook off before you take it off the heat.
  8. Turn off the heat. Arrange the vegetables over the pasta.
  9. Grate romano or parmesan cheese over the top.

 

 

 

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Aloo Palak (Potatoes with Spinach)

As you know, I’ve been doing a CSA, and I had some spinach left over from the stir-fry I made with some of the other greens. I had stored it in a plastic bag in the fridge and one week on, it was still fresh and green – no wilting. The only other vegetables I had were onions and potatoes. So, aloo-palak it was. It was quite good, and much better than when I used the frozen spinach. We have some chard coming up in the garden, and I think it will be wonderful with chard as well.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

You need: Three large potatoes; 3 small bunches baby spinach (or one large bunch regular spinach); 1 small red onion; 1/2 tsp cumin seeds/jeera; 1/2 tsp mustard seeds/sarson; 1/4 tsp turmeric/haldi; 1/4 tsp daily masala or garam masala

How to:

  1. Peel and chop the potatoes into 1/2″ pieces.
  2. Wash, drain, and shred or chop the spinach.
  3. Finely chop the onion.
  4. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok/kadhai.
  5. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and daily/garam masala. Stir well and turn the heat down to medium.
  6. Add the onion. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  7. Add the potatoes. Stir well. Sprinkle salt to taste, and turmeric over the top. Stir well.
  8. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. If it “catches” on the bottom, add 1/4 cup water and stir. Cover again.
  9. Add the spinach. Stir well until they cook down a bit. Cover and cook until potatoes are done (until they are cooked through but not squishy).

Saag Paneer

Preparation: 20 Minutes
Boiling: 15 Minutes
Cooking: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 55 Minutes

Ingredients:

2 pounds fresh spinach, or 2 packets frozen, chopped
4 oz. paneer, cubed
½ cup milk
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. ghee
to taste salt
2 tbsp. oil

Preparation:

1. Clean the spinach and shred it roughly.
2. Fill a big stockpot with water and place the spinach in it. Add 1/2 tsp salt if desired and set to boil.
3. When the water comes to a boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for 1 or 2 minutes.
4. Turn off the heat and drain the spinach into a colander. Run cold water over it to cool it.
5. In a food processor, blend the spinach into a smooth puree.
6. Heat the oil. Add cumin, cayenne pepper, and ground coriander. Stir quickly and add the spinach. Stir well.
7. Add the milk and stir in. The spinach will turn light green, and then dark again. If it is very thick, add a little more milk.
8. Cover and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
9. Add the paneer and cover again. Let cook for 10 minutes on low heat.

Serves 4

Masala greens

Here’s something I do like. Greens (spinach, kale, mustard greens, whatever) Indian-style.

You need: a bunch of greens (wash well!); one tomato, diced; one onion, finely chopped; mustard seeds, cumin, cayenne pepper (red chili powder – this is not the same as the stuff you get here to flavor chili with) to taste; salt to taste; 1/4 tsp turmeric.

Heat some oil, add the mustard and cumin, let it sputter, add the onions, let them fry a bit. Add the tomatoes and other spices. Add the greens and stir well. Cover and let cook till the greens are done.