Even people who enjoy spending time in the kitchen and enjoy trying out new recipes have their classics. Their go tos that they know backwards and forwards, that they always have the ingredients for on hand and that they can whip together at the last minute or after a long day of work. This is one of my go tos. It’s simple, it’s quick, it’s easy, it’s even pretty healthy, and best of all its incredibly flavorful. Basically in the time it takes you to cook your pasta you have the rest of the dish ready to go. It’s bright thanks to the spinach and the lemon, plus you get that hint of spice to balance it out and best of all you get the creaminess from the goat cheese without having a thick, heavy sauce.
To pair with this dish a Sauvignon Blanc is perfect. The bright acidity of the lemon is mirrored within the wine plus Sauvignon Blanc is one of the best, non sweet, wines for standing up to a little bit of spice with out the heat overpowering the wines flavors or the alcohol in the wine setting your mouth on fire. Additionally, Sauvignon Blanc can be an herbal, almost vegetal wine that makes it a really nice match with the spinach and especially the goat cheese with its tangy, earthy kick.
- 4 ounces spinach
- 1 pound pasta (this could really be any pasta that you want but I recommend something more bite size)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 2 teaspoons chili flakes
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 3 ounces goat cheese, softened
In a large pot bring some generously salted water to a boil. You are going to use this to cook both the spinach and the pasta. Once the water is boiling add in your spinach and cook for just 1 minute, then use a slotted spoon or wire skimmer to remove the spinach from the water and plunge into and ice bath to stop the cooking. Transfer to a strainer and allow to drain, at some point wrap the spinach in a paper towel or dishcloth to wring as much of the water out as possible.
Once you remove the spinach from the water allow it come back up to a boil and then add in your pasta. Cook according to package directions until al dente, typically around 9-10 minutes.
Meanwhile in a large skillet heat your olive oil over medium heat. Add in the sliced garlic and chili flakes and cook until garlic has softened and chili flakes are fragrant. Next stir in the cooked spinach and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove pan from heat until you are ready to add the pasta in. Once the pasta is cooked strain from the water, but don’t rinse! Add to the cooked pasta to your skillet along with the lemon zest and lemon juice and stir to combine.
Divide the pasta between bowls and top with small chunks of goat cheese.