Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Oricchetti with Spinach and Roasted Red Peppers

The idea for this recipe came to me as I was drifting off to sleep one night. The first time I made it, there wasn't quite enough spinach. So I tweaked it a bit, and this iteration is better. It's still a rough draft, though, so if you try it out, definitely let me know how it goes.

Oricchetti with Spinach and Roasted Red Peppers
1/2 lb. uncooked Oricchetti Pasta
1 large bunch spinach, roughly chopped
1 1/2 c. onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced (I use one of my favorite kitchen gadgets)
1/3 c. roasted red peppers, chopped (about one large)
2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
3 Tbs. white wine
1 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbs. Olive oil
2 tsp. white balsamic vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste
3 Tbs. pine nuts, toasted
1 1/2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, set aside, and keep warm.
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute onions in 1-2 tsp. olive oil until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and saute another 30 seconds. Add spinach, and saute until wilted. Add roasted red peppers, Italian seasoning, and wine. Cook until liquid is mostly gone. Toss in lemon juice and cook another minute.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss together pasta, spinach mixture, olive oil mixture, and pine nuts. Stir in 1 oz of grated Parmesan cheese. Serve sprinkled with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4-6 as a main course, 6-8 as a side dish.

Cooks Notes: White balsamic vinegar is slightly less pungent than regular. However, it can also be harder to find. I use it in the recipe partly for the slightly more subtle flavor, but mostly for the visual aesthetic. It doesn't discolor the pasta like regular balsamic would. However, if you don't want to buy white balsamic just for one recipe, regular balsamic would work just as well, though I would use maybe 1-1/2 tsp. instead of the full 2 tsp.

Psycling and I both really enjoyed this dinner, and it will definitely become a regular in my dinner repertoire.