Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lunch is Served! Easy Spinach and Tomato Pasta

After all, I AM the Lunch Lady, no?

This is a super quick and easy pasta dish. This one happens to be meatless, but you can easily add some cubed chicken or ground beef if that's your sort of thing. 

At the moment (and maybe forever) we aren't combining our carbs and protein.  It's been very freeing for me to only eat my protein at night. I seem to take more time and put more thought into making more kinds of vegetables at dinner time instead of worrying about cutting and peeling potatoes or cooking brown rice for 45 minutes. 

Wait, this is a post about pasta right?

Rabbit trails. Sorry.

Ah yes. Pasta.  Try going whole grain. It's SO good. I dare you.

I'm especially fond of brown rice pasta because it tastes so much more like white pasta than whole wheat does.

A few key ingredients: Pasta, baby spinach, shallots, fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, grape tomatoes.

Cook the pasta according the package directions. (You can use any shape and kind, I'm not looking.) I add a peeled garlic clove to the pasta water and cook it along with the pasta.

I'm totally on a fresh basil kick. I think it's something to do with really wishing it was summer.  Trader Joe's sells it in those clamshell containers.  I have found it in my local food store on occasion. You can also buy the plants at my food store and then you leave it on the counter and water it.  That isn't my strength, watering plants I mean. But, I have kept my current basil plant alive for almost 3 weeks!

I'm learning.

It helps that it's in my field of vision. The droopy plant just calls to me, "Water me, Water me!"  Those plants hiding in the living room corner don't stand a chance.

Oh. Right. Pasta. So you want to grab a handful of basil leaves and give them a quick chop with a nice sharp knife.

I'm also on a shallot kick. I go through phases.  BJ's had a largish bag of shallots that I couldn't pass up. They keep turning up in our lunch and dinner...not breakfast, yet.

Chop up a shallot or two.

Slice the tomatoes in half and toss them on the finished pasta. Or you can saute them  in the pan with the shallots if you like. I'm on a raw kick.

When the pasta is done cooking, drain it (and rinse if you are using brown rice pasta, it makes a huge difference.)

Grab a plate and put a huge handful of Baby Spinach on it. 

Take tongs and grab a serving of pasta and place on top of the bed of spinach. (I love how the hot pasta kind of wilts and melts the spinach.)

Smash the garlic clove up and mix with salt and olive oil. Drizzle some of the mixture over the pasta.

Add basil, tomato, and season with salt and pepper.


I made this for lunch while we were away skiing.

I really liked the light in the kitchen.  It made for good photographing.

Easy Spinach & Tomato Pasta

1 pound pasta
1 bag baby spinach
1 clove garlic, peeled, leave whole
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
8 basil leaves, thinly sliced
1-2 shallots, sliced
olive oil

1. Cook pasta. Follow package instructions. Add garlic clove to water.
2. In small pan, saute chopped shallots in oil or butter.
3. Put a handful of baby spinach on plate. Top with cooked pasta.
4. In small bowl, smash cooked garlic clove into a paste with salt and olive oil.
5. Drizzle mixture over pasta.
6. Garnish pasta with shallots, sliced tomatoes, and basil leaves. Season with salt and pepper.

Tips: You can serve on individual plates or on one huge platter. (I LOVE huge platters)
Use organic ingredients as much as possible. I used organic pasta, oil, basil, spinach, garlic and tomatoes. Even if you use just one organic ingredient, it's a start. Try to put less pesticides in your system, a little at a time. I made a sort of commitment to change over all of my grains to organic.  Slowly, I am converting more and more types of food when I can. Baby steps!

On a journey to health,
The Lunch Lady

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