Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Spinach & Feta Rigatoni

I don't know if I was having a craving for vitamins or what, but one random day at the grocery store I was drawn to a bag of spinach leaves.

Sadly, this was probably the first bag of spinach I had purchased in my entire life.

I told you, we're not big on too many veggies in the Vittles household, particularly those of the cooked variety. 

But Mr. V actually has a worse vegetable aversion than me.  And wouldn't you know, when I pulled that spinach out, the look on his face said it all. 

Perhaps in an attempt to downplay this look of panic, he pointed out that while he is "ok" with spinach in things, strictly spinach is a no-go.

Popeye he is not.

Nonetheless, I forged on with my intended meal - which is loosely based on one of Giada's recipes I saw on Food Network for Penne with Spinach Sauce.

Now I even left out the parmesan cheese (also a no-go for the V Man) in favor of adding BACON (always a go) in hopes it might make up for the spinach.

But on first bite, he only gave it a "tolerable" rating. 

I, on the other hand, enjoyed it... while it lasted, anyway, because I figured I would not be making it again.  It would go off into the black hole of my recipe box, somewhere between my grandma's famous Potato Salad and Cavatelli & Broccoli (one of my faves, which Mr. V finds un-tolerable without picking around the broccoli.) 

Then - when we were almost done - he said to me, "This is growing on me.  You can make this again, it's actually pretty good."

Well whaddya know.  Maybe he's got a little Popeye in him after all.

Spinach & Feta Rigatoni
  • 8 oz. rigatoni
  • 1 C. packed fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 t. minced garlic
  • 1/4 t. pepper
  • 1 oz. cream cheese (I used Neufch√Ętel cheese, which is like cream cheese but a little lower in fat)
  • 2 T. crumbled Feta cheese
  • 2-3 strips bacon, chopped
  • 2-3 T. reserved cooking liquid from rigatoni
Cook rigatoni al dente per package directions.  Reserve 1/4 C. of cooking liquid, and drain pasta.

Meanwhile, in a medium frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic & cook about 30 seconds until fragrant.  Add spinach and saute briefly until wilted.

Add contents of pan to food processor, along with pepper, cream cheese, and Feta cheese.  Pulse until smooth.  Place mixture into a bowl and add cooking liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture is sauce-like.  Stir to combine.

Add bacon and drained rigatoni, and toss to coat.  Season with salt & more pepper as needed, or parmesan cheese.

*Note: For you vegetarians out there, leaving out the bacon is perfectly fine.  If you are NOT Mr. Vittles and actually enjoy parmesan like most people, you can even add a tablespoon or two of cheese in its place.

Recipe Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network

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