Fusilli with Spinach

Rummaging through some vegan blogs, I came across the name, Green Goddess Bowl, which is a cute description for this dish. Kathy’s recipe and blog are worth taking a look at. But, this is not a vegan dish. I’m not sure if I could ever give up my love for pecorino and parmigiano cheese alone. I used a little Pecorino Romano cheese in this pasta dish that gives the “je ne sais quoi” component to the dish. And a little goes a long way, which makes it a great ingredient to have on hand.

The dish was inspired after eating at my favorite Italian restaurant in Los Angeles so far, Il Pastaio. It seems a little indulgent only because it was served at a posh Italian restaurant, but it is actually quite healthy as well, a very pleasant surprise. It was so good and tasty, that I had to make it for you, and for myself, again.

I was watching public television program recently about an anti-cancer diet. I thought with the New Year’s emphasis on health and diet, I would share it with you. Just remember GOMBS.

Greens and Green tea



Berries and Beans

Seeds and Nuts

So, you can celebrate the greens, beans, and onions in this recipe! I would suggest drinking green tea with your meal to gain optimal nutrition from this meal. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2012!

Ingredients (6 portions)

  • 12 oz. fusilli wheat pasta (about 3/4 of a box or bag)
  • 3/4 of a bunch fresh spinach
  • 1 bunch green onions, green part only
  • 18 ounce haricot verts (thin or French green beans)
  • 1 cup soybeans
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar snap peas
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated if possible
  • a little ladle of pasta water
  • 2 drizzles of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt for the pasta water

1. Wash the spinach by filling a clean sink with cold water. Plunge the leaves in the water to let all the grit fall to the bottom of the sink. When clean, place on paper towels to dry and remove any brown parts of the stems. Wash and reserve the green parts of the green onions as well.

2. Prepare a large pot of boiling water, and a large bowl of ice water, or very cold water. When boiling, salt the water with a big pinch of salt (about ½ teaspoon). Also, have a large strainer spoon on hand, and place a colander in the bowl of ice water if you have one.

3. Making the spinach-onion puree. Blanch, or dunk the spinach and green onions in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Then, plunge them directly into the colander in the ice water. I did it in three parts to not overfill the pot. When cool, take the colander out with the spinach and green onions, and gently press out the excess water in them. Then, blend in a blender or an immersion blender with a drizzle of olive oil. Set aside. *Keep the water at a gentle boil and the ice bath on hand, for the next step.

Squeeze out the liquid from the spinach

4. Cooking the beans and peas. Blanch, or dunk, the haricot verts, soy beans, and sugar snap peas for 4 minutes in the boiling water. Then, plunge them directly in the ice bath. When, cool, drain and cut into 1-inch pieces. If you have time, place the vegetables in a bowl and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and 1/8 teaspoon salt. It makes for a great snack, too. *Keep the water boiling for the pasta.

5. Add ½ teaspoon salt to the boiling water. Cook the pasta for 9 minutes. Meanwhile, while the pasta is cooking, in a large sauce pan, cook the spinach-onion puree on a very low flame for 3 minutes to concentrate the flavors. Then, add in the beans and peas and toss to coat with the puree, and immediately add in the pasta. Reserve some of the pasta water and add 1/4 cup or a little more to moisten and coat all the pasta and beans with the puree/sauce. Less it better, though, you don’t want watery pasta.

Cooking the puree for a few minutes

6. At the last moment, right before service, stir in freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese. Save a little to top each dish with. It makes the dish very hard to refuse! A drizzle of olive oil might be a glisten to the eyes, too.

For Fusilli with Spinach Nutrition Facts, please visit Shape Up America!

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