Okay, real talk. As much as I love the idea of starting out the new year as a clean-eating goddess of healthy salads, superfood smoothies and raw, vegan goodness, let’s be honest: it’s the middle of Winter. Winter with the occasional Polar Vortex, and whatever unusually-cold, unnamed weather system this latest snow storm is part of. It’s cold here. Single-digit, wish-I-could-hide-all-day-in-bed, cold.
When dinner comes around, all I want is a big, warm bowl of… comfort. Like steaming, hot bowls of pasta and hearty, savory soups and stews. However, I also would like to still fit in my Spring wardrobe once the weather does warm up, so I’m getting sneaky with my superfoods, and adding them to my favorite comfort food dishes.
This pasta dish is my perfect compromise. It’s warm and satisfying – hello pasta, I’d like you to meet goat cheese… – and packed with onion, garlic, and a ton of dark, leafy greens. I happen to love the combination of half-spinach/half-kale here, but Swiss chard, Rapini or even broccoli would be really nice in this dish as well. The best part about this recipe (did I mention the goat cheese?) is that it all comes together in less than thirty minutes, which is great for weeknights when I realize it’s 7:30 and haven’t even begun to think about what to make for dinner. Oh, and we happen to already have all the ingredients in the fridge/pantry? Big bonus. You start the pasta water, heat the olive oil, chop the veggies, and the rest falls into place by the time the perfectly al dente penne rigate is cooked.
- 1/2 lb dry pasta
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1–2 cloves fresh garlic, finely sliced
- 1 medium yellow or sweet onion, minced
- 3 cups (packed) kale leaves, rough stems removed and chopped
- 3 cups (packed) spinach leaves
- 3 oz goat cheese, crumbled
- 3 oz Parmesan cheese, finely grated or powdered
- kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste*
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-heat, until the butter is melted and the oil just begins to shimmer. Add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 2-3 minutes.
- When the pasta has about two minutes to go, add the kale to the skillet, followed by the spinach, and stir constantly until the greens just begin to wilt. The greens will continue to cook from the heat of the pasta, so be careful not to overcook.
- Drain the pasta, then return the pasta to the pot (off of the heat). Pour the greens mixture over the pasta, add the goat cheese and Parmesan, and stir to combine. Serve warm.
You can use any combination of greens in this recipe: spinach, kale, Swiss chard, rapini etc. Also, I find that I don’t need to add salt to this recipe – goat cheese and Parmesan tend to have a fair amount of salt, so add sparingly, according to taste.