After all, cream cheese IS a food group, spinach is my favorite vegetable and goat cheese makes me go weak in the knees.
Plus, it's a Giada recipe and I love Giada. Even though she CLEARLY doesn't actually EAT anything she cooks.
I did tweak the recipe a bit. The picture featured on her webpage looked a little skimpy on the sauce. And since it was a healthy sauce, with all that spinach, I decided it needed to be doubled. It was a good call.
I must also admit that when I cook like this, I don't really measure anything. It was freaking my friend, and partner in carb-crime, out a bit. Look, it's not baking; exact measurements are not necessary.
The end result, measurements or not, was delicious. I can't wait for leftovers.
Penne With Spinach Sauce
- 1 pound whole wheat or multi grain penne
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 ounces goat cheese
- 1 ounce reduced fat cream cheese (you can use fat-free)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the penne and cook until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes.
Mince the garlic in a food processor. Add the goat cheese, cream cheese, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and half of the spinach leaves. Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Set the cheese and spinach mixture aside. I doubled this but used probably triple the amount of spinach.
It needed more pepper...
Meanwhile, place the remaining spinach leaves in a large bowl.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Spoon the pasta atop the spinach leaves in the bowl. Scrape the cheese and spinach mixture over the pasta mixture and toss to coat, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. I added the cooking liquid to the sauce as I processed it in the food processor to help emulsify the mixture...
Season the pasta, to taste, with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the Parmesan over and serve.