Thursday, 4 April 2013

Lemon Spinach Pennoni

This is a simple pasta with a big impact. Start with a good brand of pasta and a great Olive oil. Fresh spinach and some lemon and we are almost done.

You will need:
  • penne or pennoni (they are larger) for two people - I used a very good brand called - Pastificio dei Campi
  • 2 large cloves of fresh garlic - sliced thinly
  • 3-4 tbsp good olive oil -  I used Mandranova Nocellara -it is fresh and green tasting!
  • 1/4 -1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dry oregano 
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 170 grams of fresh baby spinach  -  sliced is just over 2 cups (you can use more if you prefer)
  • 1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • pasta water to help create the sauce and toss the pasta in spinach
  • aged balsamic vinegar or balsamic reduction/glaze
  • 2-3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano
  • more oil to finish!

Step 1: start by cooking your pasta in a large pot of salted water (use lots of salt...the water should taste like the sea!) Cook until al dente (still a bit hard to the tooth)

Step 2: assemble and prepare all your ingredients. In less than the time it will take to cook the pasta your sauce will be done. Slice spinach (I use a bag of spinach and it is the perfect amount), slice garlic,  zest lemon and squeeze some lemon juice.

Step 3: in a large pan on medium heat add olive oil and saute garlic, hot pepper flakes, oregano and some salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes.

Step 4: add sliced spinach and cook another minute.

Step 5: add pasta (save some pasta water) lemon zest. lemon juice. Cook 1 minute and add a few tbsp of pasta water to thin out and continue to cook another minute or two. If it is too dry add a bit more water. The pasta should not be wet but should have a nice lemony gloss and most of the water should be absorbed. This is why you cook pasta al dente because you always cook it for another minute or two in the sauce. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary. 

Finish with fresh grated Parmesan, a drizzle of aged sweet balsamic and another drizzle of exceptional olive oil. The oil at the end has not been cooked and has another layer of flavour.

So simple and so delicious!

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