Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The best (and easiest) pasta you'll ever make

My mom got this recipe from her best friend several years ago, and it completely changed the way I feel about pasta. I was never a big pasta fan before this dish, but now it's my absolute favorite meal. I'm convinced I could eat the whole thing if my stomach would let me.

We call it farfalle, which I realize is just the generic name of these bowtie noodles, but who cares about the name when it tastes this good? This was my first time making it after all these years, and, while it wasn't as good as my mom or her friend makes it, Adam loved it and I have to say it was pretty darn close.

Here's what you'll need:

1 box of farfalle pasta (we use the bigger noodles)
1 bag of spinach
1/3 cup of pine nuts
3-4 chopped cloves of garlic
1 package (about 10-15 slices) of prosciutto
Olive oil (we usually use extra virgin)
1/2-2/3 cup of shredded parmesan cheese


The most time-consuming part of this process (for me, anyway) was cutting up the prosciutto, so I did it first thing. It's very sticky, so it tends to work better if you do it by individual slices. Just slice it in half length-wise and cut strips about half an inch wide. Set those aside.

Next you'll boil the water for the noodles. While that's heating, take out a large sauce pan and drizzle about a teaspoon of olive oil in it. Add the chopped garlic cloves (it's much easier if you have a garlic press) and stir the garlic around in the pan for a while — be careful not to burn it. Next, start adding spinach to the pan. You will need the whole bag, but it's much harder to work with if you put it all in at once. Stir the spinach around the pan until it becomes dark green and shriveled; keep adding more pieces until you've got the whole bag in there. We usually take off any big stems, but that's up to you. Once it's all cooked, take it off the burner to cool a little bit.

Noodles should be starting to cook now. We use anywhere from 3/4 to the full box. The next step is browning the pine nuts. Just put them all in a small, dry (the dry part is important) sauce pan on medium heat and move them around until they begin to brown. Be careful not to overcook them. I burned mine a little bit, but they still tasted great.

Once the noodles are done, drain the water and put them into a serving bowl. Add the chopped prosciutto, spinach and pine nuts. Drizzle a healthy amount of olive oil over all of it and mix well. You don't want a pool of oil at the bottom, but you want it to coat everything. You can also add salt to taste (I didn't, but it still had a great flavor). Shred the parmesan cheese and mix it in. We like cheese a lot in my house, so we also add more to the pasta after we serve it.

And that's it! I broiled some french bread with olive oil to go with it, but garlic bread would be a great side with it too. If you decide to try it out, let me know how it goes in the comment section!

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