Pasta in a Simple Sauce with Spinach

This is one of the wonderful ways in which we use spinach. The flavor is somehow both subtle and savory, perhaps due to letting the sauce reduce, and then adding the pasta just before it is fully cooked, with a little of its water, then cooking them together so that the pasta absorbs the sauce, and its flavor. Here, give it a try.


2 tbsp Classic Olive Oil
1 cup Yellow Onionthinly sliced
1 clove Garlicminced
½ tsp Nutmeg, Gratedground, fresh if possible
2 tbsp Lemon Juiceabout half a lemon
¼ cup Half and Half Cream
1 cup TomatoesGrape tomatoes sliced in half is best.
1 cup Vermouth Cooking WineWhite wine also works well.
¼ cup Pine NutsToast them in a 375 degree oven about 10-15 minutes, until nicely browned.
1 cup Basiloptional; can also use 1 tsp. dried basil added with onions.
10 dry oz. SpinachSliced in approximate quarter inch striips.
¾ dry oz. PastaI would use a fine long pasta such as angel hair, or perhaps linguine


1 Earlier in the day, fill a pasta pot with fresh cold water. Let is sit on the burner to reach room temperature, which is just a simple way to save some heat energy.
2 When you're ready to begin, start heating the pasta water.
3 De-stem, wash, and slice the spinach leaves; put aside.
4 Have onions and garlic ready.
5 Heat oil in large saute pan.
6 Over medium heat, saute the onions for a few minutes, until they are just transluscent. If you are using the optional dried basil, add it at this point, to enhance its flavor.
7 Add the garlic and saute for just 30 seconds or so.
8 Pour in the wine.
9 Let the wine reduce at whatever rate works best; if you're in a hurry, at high heat; if you're relaxed, just let it simmer. The point is, let the mixture reduce to the point that the wine is almost evaporated and a bit syrupy.
10 Then, pour in the half and half, and let it the sauce reduce some more, just until it has thickened some.
11 It's time that the pasta be cooking. I am very happy using Barilla pasta. It cooks quite naturally to a wonderful al dente. I cook the linguine about ten minutes, no more.
12 While the pasta is cooking, turn the heat off under the sauce. Add the lemon juice and tomatoes on top.
13 If you are using the optional fresh basil, add it at this point, so that the flavor doesn't get lost in the cooking.
14 When the pasta is cooked, drain it, leaving a good one quarter cup of water.
15 Turn the heat back on under the sauce. Add the pasta with its water to the sauce. With two spoons or whatever utensils you prefer to mix the pasta and sauce, keep cooking the pasta and sauce together, micing constantly, just until the sauce almost disappears.
16 Have warm plates ready.
17 Serve the pasta at once.
18 Pass the grated parmesan, and also some toasted pine nuts.
19 We hope it is just as delicious as ours a few nights ago!