Our weekly pasta dish: Greens, cheese, protein and pasta

20120109-022422.jpg As you know, I’m always on the hunt for easy and quick recipes for weeknight meals. The recipe has to be really good to land a spot in our rotation since I love trying new dishes. This pasta dish is definitely a staple in my kitchen. What I love about it is its versatility. There are so many options for ingredients in this dish that we always have enough on hand to make a pleasing pasta dinner. It usually goes something like this:

1. Pour a glass of wine- usually red, but sometimes white

2. Prepare the following:

3/4 lb of whatever pasta you have on hand Some protein- we often use chick peas, white beans, prosciutto, or salami A large bag or bunch of greens- I wish I could say I get mine from the farmer's market, but what I typically have is the bag of mixed Southern Greens from Trader Joe's A 1/2 cup of cheese- ricotta seems to be the go-to around here since I love having it around to spread on warm toast, but we also use mozzarella quite often 1 lemon Lots of olive oil 3 or 4 garlic cloves Salt & ground pepper 20120109-022429.jpg</a

Boil a big pot of salted water. Cook pasta about 12 minutes, or according to package directions. Before draining, reserve about a cup of the hot pasta water to use if your pasta dish is too dry once combined- I ALWAYS forget to do this, even if I remember to set aside the water, but I do think it would be a good addition.

While the pasta is cooking, chop the meat, if using, into small pieces, or rinse and drain your beans. Sauté the meat in a large pot over medium heat with some olive oil until crispy. Add the minced cloves of garlic to the pot and sauté until fragrant (if you are not using meat, add olive oil with your garlic). Next, add your mix of greens, sautéing until wilted. Add more olive oil here if the greens are not covered nicely. If using beans, add them after you have wilted the greens. Squeeze half a lemon on top of the mixture.


Stir the cooked pasta, and pasta water, if you remember, into the greens mixture. Toss with cheese and perhaps another squeeze of lemon. Salt to taste...Savor. 20120109-022447.jpg