Thanks to the food network for showing me today's simple dinner. It really was outrageously easy and pretty tasty. It will also most likely be our St. Patrick's Day dinner in years to come. It turned out ultra green.
I abhor cream (just ask cousin Justin who snuck it into my food once) so usually my pasta must be topped with marinara, but this lovely pasta sauce was made without cream and I decided it was worth trying. All in all it is a very healthy and tasty pasta. I'm rather uncultured and very non-gourmet so the goat cheese spooked me a tad. When all was said and done it tasted just fine- not goaty at all.
1 pound whole wheat or multi grain penne
3 garlic cloves
2 ounces goat cheese
1-2 ounces reduced fat (I used whipped) cream cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces fresh baby (or grown up) spinach leaves
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
I also added (without these additions it's more of a side than a meal):
sauteed yellow squash and zucchini
cooked chicken pieces
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the penne and cook until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes.
Mince the garlic in a food processor. Add the goat cheese, cream cheese, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and half of the spinach leaves. Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Set the cheese and spinach mixture aside. I did it all in the trusty magic bullet!
Meanwhile, place the remaining spinach leaves in a large bowl.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Spoon the pasta atop the spinach leaves in the bowl. Scrape the cheese and spinach mixture (I didn't use all of the sauce) over the pasta mixture and toss to coat, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten (I didn't use too much of it). Season the pasta, to taste, with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the Parmesan over and serve.