Like most kids, my girls are pretty picky eaters. I have to drown their food in ketchup to get them to eat it. But this recipe is so pretty and delicious, they ate it down to the last drop. To make it more fun, I used corkscrew pasta (also known as Rotini), and taking a que from the Sandra Lee semi-homemade philosophy, I used frozen garlic cubes and spinach, making this dish come together in no-time! So go ahead, serve it to your kiddies. No ketchup required.
The frozen garlic cubes offer a milder taste to the dish than their fresh counterparts. If you’re making this for adults only (or your kids like the taste of lotsa fresh garlic) go ahead and use the real thing. I would recommend cutting down to 2-3 cloves.
I’ve also opted for extra light olive oil because of the mild flavor. However, if you like the full-bodied fruitiness of traditional olive oil, go ahead and use that instead.
I like to top my pasta with just a sprinkle of toasted bread crumbs. This adds texture and crunch to the dish and takes it over the top. If you don’t like the sound of it, just go ahead and leave it out.
1 box Rotini pasta
1 10oz. box frozen chopped spinach
4-5 frozen garlic cubes
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
extra light olive oil
1/8 cup breadcrumbs, optional
In a frying pan, drizzle some olive oil and add the garlic cubes. Turn the fire on medium, allowing the garlic cubes to melt as the oil heats up (if you throw the cubes into hot oil, the oil will splatter in every direction and the garlic will burn). Stir the cloves until fully melted and slighly cooked.
Remove the foil from the box of spinach and microwave for about 6 minutes until thawed. If the spinach is hot, wait for it to cool and squeeze the water out in batches, using your hands (I wear gloves for this). Add the spinach to the pan and saute, mixing with the garlic until full incorporated. Add more oil if needed. Season with salt and pepper.
Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta, but not thoroughly, leaving a bit of water. Return the pasta to the pot, and add the spinach mixture. Stir well until the spinach is well incorporated. If the pasta is slightly dry, add a bit more oil. Adjust seasonings if needed.
To toast the breadcrumbs, add them to the frying pan that you used to saute the garlic and spinach. This will infuse it with some of the garlic flavor. Stir on a medium flame, taking care that the breadcrumbs do not burn. Remove from pan when they have reached desired doneness, as they will continue to brown if left in the pan.