We fall into the “mutt” category in our family…Irish is in there, but not enough to really call myself Irish. So, aside from throwing on a green shirt each year, I’ve never really given much thought to St. Patrick’s Day. Until my smarty-pants three-year-old asked me what we will do for St. Patty’s this year. I decided a green meal (along with our green shirts!) would do the trick. This is a really best for the summer-time, but we made do with fresh spinach from Kilpatrick Family Farm, and fresh basil from the grocery store.
The original recipe, from Moosewood Restaurant’s Low Fat Favorites, is below. I modified by ditching the broccoli and tossing with some sautéed mushrooms. I also just mix a few spoonfuls of the sauce right into all the pasta and serve it in a large platter. This dish is delicious….similar to most pesto sauces, but the cottage cheese gives it just the right creaminess without becoming too heavy.
St. Patrick’s Day Green Penne
as seen in Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favorites
10 oz. fresh spinach
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 c low-fat cottage cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
1/4 c loosely packed chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp salt
ground black pepper to taste
1 to 1 1/2 pounds macaroni*
1 head broccoli (I ditched this and sautéed mushrooms instead)
Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil.
While the water heats, wash the spinach and transfer it to a separate large pot. The water clinging to the leaves should provide enough moisture to steam it. Cover and cook the spinach on medium-high heat for about 4 minutes, until wilted but still bright green. Drain.
In a food processor or blender, combine spinach, walnuts, cottage cheese, garlic, Parmesan, basil, and salt and puree until smooth, working in batches if necessary. Add pepper to taste and set aside.
When the water boils, stir in the pasta, cover, and return to a boil. Then uncover the pot and cook until the pasta is al dente, about 7 minutes.* While the pasta cooks, cut the broccoli into spears, about two minutes before the pasta is done add the broccoli to blanch it.. Drain the pasta/broccoli and stir in sauce to cover. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese if desired.
* To make this Gluten-Free, Chris recommends Tinkyada Brown Rice pastas. The cooking time is double that of regular wheat-based pastas; 14-16 minutes. (We received nothing for this recommendation)