It's baseball season again. Caught me by surprise, again. You would think I'd get the hang of this after years and years of boys playing ball, but it always sneaks up on me. The first night of the regular season, there I was sitting at a game, 7 PM, eating mini Reese's and Red Vines for dinner. Then, the "after meal" on our way home at 9:30. The choices were fast food and fast food.
Ok, so now I'm resolved to get my act together. Either start dinner early in the day, in a slow cooker, or find some quick and easy meals to make. I found this one in a new cookbook "Food and Wine Annual Recipes 2011". It's a compilation of all of the recipes found in their 2010 magazines. Remember this recipe for Sweet Potato Meringue Pie with Ginger Pecan Crust we made in November? Same magazine. Wonderful recipes. I threw this dish together in a matter of minutes. Served it with a simple salad and bread. The guys liked it so much they ate seconds when we returned from the game. This is my kind of fast food.
Pasta with Creamed Leek and Spinach
Food and Wine Magazine 2010
3/4 pound fusilli, penne, ziti or other pasta
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 cup heavy cream
4 cups packed baby spinach 4 oz, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup lightly packed basil leaves, finely chopped
pinch of nutmeg, optional
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta al dente, drain, reserving a bit of the water for thinning sauce.
Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet, heat the oil. Add the chopped leek and cook over moderate heat until softened about 10 minutes. Add the cream and simmer over moderate heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until spinach wilts, about 2 minutes.
Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and toss over medium low heat until the pasta is coated with the sauce. Remove from heat and add the basil. Season with salt pepper and nutmeg if desired. If the sauce seems too thick, add a little bit of the warm pasta water to thin the sauce. Top with fresh Parmesan cheese.
-This is a creamy and rich dish, if you want to cut some of the calories, you may use half and half. The sauce will not be as thick, but the flavor will still be great.
-To shave the Parmesan cheese, simply lay the wedge of cheese on a cutting board and take a sharp knife and run it from the top to the bottom of the piece of cheese. The cheese will come off in large pieces.
-Great side to serve with chicken or fish.