Green Alien Guts (aka Popeye Pasta aka Spinach Spaghetti)
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Few meals are as universally accepted as pasta, yet sometimes simple pasta with red sauce isn’t quite sophisticated enough for adults.
They, unlike kids, tire of it and long for other flavors. But once adults start with the add-ins (Kalamata olives? Mushrooms? Sausage? Onions?) many kids will push the plate away.
To the rescue comes a verdant pasta that squeaks of loud-and-proud spinach and perhaps improbably appeals to both kids and adults. It’s a clean flavor, simple yet elegant.
We can call it Spinach Spaghetti, Green Alien Guts, Incredible Hulk Innards Macaroni, Popeye Pasta, or whatever name might appeal to your youngest gross-out eaters. Toss a few home-grown cherry tomatoes on top, for fun.
If it has the label Green Alien Guts on my menu plan, consult the calendar, because it just might be Halloween!
Popeye Pasta (aka Spinach Spaghetti)
A pasta dish that both adults and kids will like, especially if you call it Green Guts or Incredible Hulk Innards. The only hiding this spinach does is in the name!
- 1 (12-ounce) box Barilla White Fiber Mini Rotini
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (I used Arianna Trading Company Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
- 1 tablespoon Gourmet Garden Chunky Garlic Paste (or 2-3 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced)
- 1 pound spinach leaves (I used Cut ‘N Clean Greens Curly Spinach
- Sea salt
- ½ cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano Cheese (plus more for serving)
- Red pepper flakes
- Start the pasta cooking: Heat a big pot of water and season with salt. When boiling, add pasta, and cook until al dente. With this particular pasta, it only takes 4 minutes to reach al dente!
- While waiting for pasta water to boil, heat the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet on medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 15 seconds. Add the spinach leaves and sauté with the garlic until wilted. This should only take 1 minute or so. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and remove from heat.
- Make sauce: Add the wilted spinach and cheese to the bowl of a food processor. Whirl until pasty.
- When pasta is done, drain, reserving 1 cup of the boiling pasta water. Return hot pasta to the pasta pot and cover.
- Finish sauce: With food processor running, add at least half of the pasta water, whirling until the spinach mixture is saucy. Add sauce back onto the pot with pasta, and stir to combine. If it looks dry, add more of the reserved pasta water until it looks right to you.
- Serve, and pass additional grated cheese and red pepper flakes at the table.
- Serves 4.
Recipe source: Slightly adapted from Erren’s Kitchen. Thanks, Erren, for delicious dinner inspiration!
Copyright Dorothy Reinhold | ShockinglyDelicious.com. All rights reserved.
For this recipe, I have used triple-washed spinach in a bag, ready to go. It makes it so easy to work greens into my meals. I bought the spinach myself, although I do some consulting work for Cut ‘N Clean Greens. Just thought you ought to know that I put my money where my mouth is. And since spinach is 80%-90% water, its volume decreases greatly when it is wilted or cooked, which surprises many cooks who start out with a skillet overflowing with fresh greens and finish with a small but delicious pile.