For Christmas, my sister gave me a new cookbook. “Everyday Pasta”, by Giada de Laurentiis. She also gave me some really cool pasta from Italy. She knows me so well. I love pasta. And it loves me. I look at Giada, who is absolutely gorgeous, and I wonder how she can possibly eat any of the delicious food she makes. I’m assuming she just doesn’t eat as much of it as I do. I’m also assuming she saves the really decadent recipes for special occasions. One thing I like about this cookbook is the lighter options that are included. It’s nice to be able to enjoy pasta without it being a total diet killer every time.
Last night I made Orecchiette with Greens and Goat Cheese. Salad meets pasta, lots of zippy flavors but very simple. One of the things I love about this recipe is you can make it in individual servings. That allowed us to adjust some of the ingredients for each of our tastes. A tiny bit of goat cheese for Claire, lots for me. Giada’s recipe calls for Mediterranean salad greens, but I used fresh baby spinach instead, as it’s what I had on hand. I’ve made it both ways and both are great, but truthfully I prefer the spinach. Orecchiette is a small, round, shell-type pasta. I believe it means “little ears” in Italian. They do kind of look like little ears. Tasty little ears. If you can’t find it, or have something against eating ears, you can substitute shells or another smallish shape pasta instead.
Orecchiette with Greens and Goat Cheese
(from Everyday Pasta, by Giada de Laurentiis)
1 pound orecchiette or other pasta
8 oz. fresh baby spinach (or mixed salad greens)
1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (packed in olive oil)
3 oz. (about 1/3 cup) crumbled fresh goat cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
Cook pasta until tender but firm to the bite, 8-10 min. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Place salad greens in a serving bowl and top with warm pasta and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Toss to combine with the greens. Add sun-dried tomatoes, cheeses, salt & pepper. Toss to combine. Add more pasta water necessary. (If you’re making this for one, or doing individual servings, use about a cup of dry pasta per serving, and just add a few tablespoons of pasta water to start).