Every now and then my husband announces he needs to eat more vegetables. This is his subtle way of letting me know he needs my help. So I do things like cut up some carrots, cukes and peppers and put them on a plate with hummus for snacking, leave bowls of salad in the fridge for his lunch (he works at home), and try to get creative with the side dishes at dinnertime. You see, he doesn't like all that many vegetables, so I consider it a culinary challenge when he makes his announcement. And I love a culinary challenge.
I found "Winter Greens Pasta" in Rachael Ray's Big Orange Book and thought it would appeal to my other half. It's LOADED with greens, but the pasta makes it look less like a mess o' greens and more like, well, something he would eat.
A couple of notes: There are anchovies in this dish. Don't worry about it. They just add some flavor; no one will know they're in there because they melt right into the sauce. And as you gather your ingredients, you may think you have way too much greenery going on, but once all that produce cooks down, you'll see that it's just right.
P.S.: Rachael, this recipe doesn't belong in the "Vegetarian" section of the cookbook, with those pesky little anchovies in it. Just thought you should know.
Winter Greens Pasta Serves 4-6 as a side dish
1/2 box (about 1/2 lb.) whole wheat spaghetti 2 T. olive oil 3 cloves garlic, chopped 2-3 anchovy fillets pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste 1 head escarole, chopped and washed in salad spinner 3 cups baby spinach (or regular spinach, washed and thick stems removed) black pepper nutmeg 2 T. drained capers zest and juice of 1/2 lemon 1 1/2 cups arugula leaves
Cook spaghetti in boiling salted water. Place a measuring up in your colander to remind you that you will need to save 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, anchovies and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring every now and then, until the anchovies have completely melted, about 4 minutes. Turn the heat up a bit and add the escarole and spinach. Turn the greens around with tongs until they begin to wilt, about 1 -2 minutes. Season the wilted greens with black pepper and a pinch of nutmeg (omit the nutmeg if you don't like it). Turn off the heat.
When the pasta is drained, put it back in the pot you cooked it in OR in the skillet with the greens, whichever is larger. Add the reserved pasta cooking water, the capers, lemon zest, lemon juice, and the wilted greens. Toss in the arugula and heat all over medium-high heat for a minute. Taste and add more black pepper, red pepper, salt or lemon zest, if desired.
We enjoyed this as a side dish for steak one evening and fish the next.