Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Adaptable Goodness

You know I'm a fan of Martha Stewart, right? I mean, at the very least, you have to respect a woman who's been able to build up an empire based on cooking, arts and crafts, and housewares, and then stage the comeback that she did after her incarceration. So I frequently turn to for recipe inspiration, and my latest find is Penne with Ricotta and Pine Nuts.

Of course, like most of the recipes I try, I ended up altering this one slightly. (I think it's Paula Deen who says something like you should follow the recipe once and then do it the way you need to after that, and although she may not be my favorite, I definitely agree with such advice). First, the recipe calls for penne, but all I had in the cabinet that day was farfalle, or bow tie pasta.

Look at how cute that pasta is! Show me someone who doesn't like a good farfalle and I'll show you someone who doesn't know what it is to like playful food. But I digress.

Stewart's recipe calls for you to add fresh baby spinach to the pot in the last two minutes of boiling, which I find is just the right amount of time; this process really brings out the color and the flavor of the greens, which I love.

I buy my spinach packaged; in this case, I used Earthbound Farm Organic Baby Spinach, which comes in a plastic container made from recycled bottles, which is cool for you and for the planet!

Once the pasta and spinach are done boiling, drain the pasta and plate it. Throw some ricotta on there (I prefer part-skim) along with salt and/or pepper to taste, and then top with your favorite Italian cheese; Stewart's recipe uses Parmesan, but I ended up using a six-cheese blend from Sargento that worked just fine.

If you're able to find them, you can also toast up some pine nuts, as Stewart suggests, and sprinkle them on top of the mix. There seems to be a run on pine nuts in my town, though, so sometimes I have to skip them, even though I think they're pretty fantastic. I also decided to pass on the olive oil step here; you may choose to mix some in, but I rarely do.

All in all, it's a simple, quick, adaptable recipe that makes for a comforting dinner, and the best part is that you can make smaller batches for yourself, since there are no sauces or mixtures to prepare and thus no measurements to halve!


PS Check out my Halloween Bundt pan post over at What We Covet today!

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