Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Spaghetti with Lemon, Chile and Creamy Spinach

Like a lot of people, my diet isn't nearly as good on the weekend as it is during the week, so I usually try to make a healthy, vegetarian, relatively light dinner on Monday night (and it's a bonus when it's quick to prepare). I came across this recipe from one of my favorite sources, Food and Wine, which was especially fortuitious since I already had everything I need on hand. Since spinach is available nearly year-round at the farmer's market (many farmers grow it in unheated hoophouses in Wisconsin), I eat quite a bit of it, usually in salad, so it was nice to enjoy spinach cooked for a change instead.

Although this sauce for this dish is undeniably creamy, using yogurt in place of heavy cream or milk makes this much tangier than your average cream sauce, which is quite refreshing and perfect for summer. This pasta would also work well with a variety of other greens, like arugula, or perhaps even broccoli rabe, and vary from extremely mild to scorchingly hot, depending on what type and amount of pepper you choose to use. I suspect I'll be adapting this dish to the bounty of the farmer's market at least a few times this summer for quick and healthy dinner.

Spaghetti with Lemon, Chile, and Creamy Spinach
from Food and Wine
serves 4

1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti
1 1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 red Thai chile, minced
10 ounces baby spinach
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain and return to the saucepan.
2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the yogurt with the flour until smooth. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and chile and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the yogurt and bring to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring. Add the spinach by the handful and cook until wilted, stirring. When all of the spinach has been added, stir in the lemon zest and juice and season with salt and pepper.
3. Add the sauce to the spaghetti and toss well to coat. Mound in bowls, sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve right away.

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