Sunday, 9 August 2009

PPN Creamy Spinach Walnut Pasta

After Sylvia and I had our outing in the Botanic Gardens on Friday, I came home to deal with a spell of her tears and then, once she calmed down, she had her first bath in the big bath. No more small baby bath on the kitchen table for this big girl.

I didn’t have much energy once it was time for dinner. The freezer was very tempting but I had ingredients for Ashley’s Penne with Creamy Spinach Walnut Sauce. I would have given it a miss if it had not seemed so easy. Cook some pasta and blitz the other ingredients in the food processor.

As always things took me a little longer than they should have. I toasted the walnuts and microwaved the spinach. E looked after Sylvia. But it was quicker than many of my meals. The sauce was quite substantial. It was a little like a pesto but creamier and packed full of more green vegetables. It needed company, as it was quite intense alone. Ashley suggested serving it with broccoli but it was carrots I had in my fridge. Besides I liked the colour contrast. If I was more organised I would like this with more vegetables. For example, it would go very nicely with a plain salad of tomato and cucumber with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Then yesterday, we went to see the A Day Pompeii Exhibition at the Museum. It was one of the busiest exhibitions I have been to and we slowly shuffled through it in the thick of the crowds. Fortunately, we had organised to meet my friend Kathleen so we were able to catch up with each other in the slow periods. I find some of the archeological finds can leave me cold – rusty fish hooks aren’t really my thing – but I did enjoy some curiosities such as the carbonised loaf of bread. Most evocative were the plaster casts of the people huddling from the fury of the volcano. By the time we got home I was glad we had leftover pasta sauce for dinner.

Today we were all out of the sauce but we move furniture around, banged the dust out of rugs and I had a bike ride. I would have had the pasta again but instead I finally got a dal out of the freezer for dinner. Sylvia slept 11 hours last night so she had decided she doesn’t need any sleep today. Hence it feels like we haven’t had much time.

I would love 48 hours in the day but, failing that, I am glad to have discovered an interesting and quick pasta dish. The main change I made was to substitute mustard and lemon juice for fresh basil. This is my winter version of the dish but when summer comes I might just try it with basil. I have also thought it might be a good sauce to try in a pasta bake or lasagna.

I am sending this to Psychgrad of Equal Opportunity Kitchen who is hosting this week's Presto Pasta Night (#126), an event founded by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast.

Creamy Spinach Walnut Pasta
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites via Eat Me Delicious
Serves 4-5

250g fresh spinach
½ cup toasted walnuts,
2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
1 garlic clove, crushed
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1½ tsp seeded mustard
juice of ½ a small lemon
¼ tsp salt
ground black pepper to taste
500g dried pasta
4-8 carrots, cut into matchsticks (or other vegetables)

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil for the pasta and prepare carrots.

Meanwhile, place washed spinach in a plastic bag or tub in the microwave and cook on high for about 2 minutes or until just wilted (or you can cook the spinach in a pot of boiling water). Place walnuts then spinach then remaining ingredients in the food processor and blend til smooth.

When water is boiling, cook pasta according to instructions and add carrot sticks about 2-3 minutes before pasta is cooked.

Drain pasta and carrots. Toss with spinach sauce and serve with a little extra Parmesan cheese grated on top and some fresh cracked pepper.

On the stereo:
Ruby: The Killjoys


  1. Your subs sound equally yummy! And quick pasta is always a great weekenight dinner, I think.

  2. This looks good. I've never tried using cottage cheese to make a pasta sauce more creamy. But, it seems like a good idea -- lower fat than cream too.

    Thanks for participating in PPN!

  3. Half way through your post, I had to get up and grab some walnuts - so good.
    Looks like a lovely pasta sauce and I like the broccoli idea.

  4. Wow, this pasta with the creamy sauce looks absolutely delicious. I will definitely try it!

  5. Thanks Ricki - we are great at quick pasta on a weeknight but the sauce usually comes out of a jar if in a real hurry

    Thanks Psychgrad - I was pleasantly surprised by cottage cheese in the sauce - the combination of cottage cheese and walnuts appealed because I use this combination in one of my favourite nut roasts

    Thanks Tanna - I am going through a phase of loving walnuts - they are such wonderful nuts

    Thanks Juliana - hope you enjoy it

  6. This dish looks great! And I love the fact you toasted your walnuts for your pesto: it adds more flavors!

  7. Mmm I was eyeing that off when Ashley posted it and then forgot I had it bookmarked! I really need to make it, it still looks fabulous!

  8. Thanks Karine - I just toast them on a frypan on the stovetop which I find I am less likely to forget about - especially as my oven timer is on the blink!

    Thanks Vegetation - aren't blogs great for recipes coming around more than once to remind those of us who are easily distracted by the latest temptation

  9. Mmm love your addition of mustard seeds! And great idea to use a different coloured vegetable in there.

  10. Sounds like life Steve Martin used to say..."wild and crazy". Good thing there's pasta. Thanks for sharing with Prsto Pasta Nights.

  11. Really nice and creamy. spinach & cottage cheese is one my favourite combination for filling up pasta shells/ canneloni but this seems an equally good way to make it

  12. Thanks Ashley - the mustard worked well

    Thanks Ruth - wild and crazy is about right!

    Thanks Bergamot - I haven't used cottage cheese with pasta much before but I would love to - must try it in canneloni

    Thanks Food Hunter

  13. Theres a whole lot of ingredients that dont appear in the method. Garlic, cheese, etc. Do I add these to the sauce?

  14. Oops, sorry, delete that - I wasnt reading it properly :(


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