It’s getting chilly out there. (No snow in DC yet though…I’m a little jealous New York.) And while I make pasta almost every week, no matter the season, now I want mine extra creamy and rich. (Like the fusilli at Red Hen or cacio e pepe at Rose’s Luxury…mmm.) Soon the farmer’s markets will start shrinking too. Luckily I know I’ll always be able to find bundles of fresh spinach and local cheese. Combine them with some classic elbows and indulge with some cream, and you’ve got pure comfort food. Sure they’re decadent ingredients, but at least you’ll know them all and where they’re from. Plus, this is my favorite way to load up on my greens!
Sunday pasta is supposed to be a relaxing activity. Not a lot of thought. A way to unwind before the week ramps up. (A glass of wine usually helps with this too.) So here’s the Nikki no-recipe version:
Spinach Mac and Cheese
Put on a pot of water for pasta. In a large pan, melt some butter and olive oil. Add some chopped garlic. Chop the ends off fresh spinach leaves and add to the pan. Stir until spinach is cooked down. Season with salt, pepper, and a little nutmeg. Meanwhile, cook elbow pasta. Add some heavy cream to spinach. (Don’t be shy here.) Liberally grate cheddar and parmesan cheese into sauce. Add cooked pasta to the sauce. Continue to add cheese until you just can’t wait to dig in.
Just when I thought I was back in the swing of things, my laptop totally dies on me. I planned on sharing my pumpkin snickerdoodle recipe with you today too. Well, until it gets fixed, here’s a quick one with some fall favorites….leather, wine, cozy fluffy spaces, gooey cheese. Can’t wait to get back to real blogging soon! :)
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I feel like I’m finally cooking again. Spring has brought a new sense of excitement…for creating new things, for fresh veggies, for eating light and fresh. Getting to the market and getting in the kitchen seem more regular now. And that feels good.
This past week, my favorite market finds were oh so green spinach and fresh creamy ricotta. For an appetizer, I sautéed the spinach in garlic and olive oil and paired it with the ricotta drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Such a savory, sweet, simple veggie dish.
And it will only get better. Soon there will be asparagus, ramps, strawberries, tomatoes… ah the produce possibilities!
What’s inspiring you in the kitchen this spring?
two things I’m really excited about right now are squash and taking some time to cook a good dinner. (Both seen in this recent post.) One of my new year’s resolutions is to cook more dinners (aka lunch leftovers!), which is just so difficult during basketball season, but I’m going to try. And farmer’s market squash is a great inspiration.
So for the second night in a row, I made dinner inspired by squash…Butternut squash and spinach pasta in a cheesy cream sauce topped with ricotta. I love the combination of the creamy squash and healthy spinach (even better with whole wheat pasta – not so much with the cream and butter though) and the notes of garlic and thyme.
- For the squash: Preheat oven to 400°. Cut off top and bottom of squash, peel, cut into cubes. Spread out on a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Toss around to make sure every piece is coated. Roast for 15 minutes, tossing once to rotate.
- For the spinach: Sauté frozen spinach leaves with butter and garlic. After spinach has cooked through, add in a splash or two or three of heavy cream. Mix in some parmesan cheese. When squash is done roasting, add it to the spinach mix.
- Toss spinach, squash and cream sauce with whole wheat pasta. Mix in some ricotta cheese for extra creaminess.
What are your favorite winter meals?
Just another simple winter dinner…
I know spaghetti squash can be a little intimidating, but this dish is so easy, healthy and delicious. Pick one up at the next farmer’s market and toss with anything you’d like (treat it just like pasta). I love this simple combination…
Spaghetti Squash with Garlic Butter and Ricotta
- Spaghetti squash
- Chopped garlic
- Ricotta cheese
- Grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Bake whole spaghetti squash on a baking pan for one hour.
- After an hour in the oven, the squash should be soft enough to cut open. With a sharp knife, cut in half.
- Scoop out the seeds on both halves.
- Use two forks to lift out the strands and scrape down the sides.
- Toss with butter and garlic. Mix in ricotta cheese and sprinkle with grated parmesan.