Saturday, May 11, 2013

Creamy Mushroom and Pesto Pasta with Spinach

Do you ever have those nights when all you want is to plunk down in front of the TV (in your pjs or yoga pants and night shirt) with a bowl of tasty, comforting pasta and your favorite program or movie?  Confession:  I've been having a lot of these nights lately.  There's something about starting a new job, no matter how much you like it, no matter how great your coworkers are, and no matter how capable you are of completing the tasks of said new position that is stressful and exhausting.  Now double that by purchasing a business and doing both at the same time.

Hence, this pasta:

My husband and I liked this pasta so much, I made it twice in the same week!  It's earthy, creamy, hearty and extremely tasty.  It's great for a Meatless Monday meal, or if you're just a huge fan of mushrooms (like me).

Put some salted water on to boil for your pasta.  Then slice up some mushrooms,


Spinach (try to get baby spinach, if the leaves are small enough, you won't even need to chop them)...

And Parsley.  With any luck, your water is boiling and you can drop your pasta now.  If not, wait until you drop the pasta to heat up your skillet and start sauteeing.  Once you have dropped your pasta:

Throw the mushrooms in a skillet and sautee them for a couple of minutes...

Next, add the scallions to the skillet...

Saute these together for just a couple of minutes, when the mushrooms start to carmelize, season the whole shebang with a bit of salt and pepper, then add the spinach...

Sprinkle just a bit more salt on the spinach, then just let it hang out.  When it starts to wilt, give it a stir.

Once the spinach has cooked down a bit, add 4 oz. of Neufchatel Cheese (or other low-fat cream cheese) and half of a 7 oz. container of pesto.

Let everything hang out for a couple minutes to give the cheese a chance to melt a bit, then stir it all together. Your pasta should be ready now.  You can either drain it, first reserving about a cup of the pasta water or you can use a spider to transfer the pasta directly to the skillet (I love my spider for this!).

Add pasta water as needed to make a sauce, stir everything together and let it cook together for just a couple minutes.

Add some chopped fresh parsley and serve!

The best part of this dish, is it only takes as long to make as it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta.  YUM!

Creamy Mushroom & Pesto Pasta with Spinach

1 lb Bow Tie Pasta
4 oz. Nuefchatel Cheese (or low-fat cream cheese)
3.5 oz. Pesto (I like the kind you get in the fresh pasta aisle)
4-6 Mushrooms, sliced
3-5 Scallions, chopped
2 cups Spinach, chopped
2 Tbls Fresh Parsley, chopped
Salt & Pepper, to taste
2 TBLS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4-1/2 cup Pasta Water

Put a large pot of salted water on  to boil.  Cook pasta to just shy of al-dente.

Preheat olive oil in a skillet.  Add mushroom, saute a couple minutes, then add scallions and sprinkle with salt.  Once mushrooms start to carmelize, add spinach, sprinkling a little salt on the spinach.  Let the spinach sit in the pan and steam with the mushroom and scallions, until it starts to wilt, then stir it in.  Sautee about 2 minutes, then add cream cheese and pesto.  Once cheese starts to melt, stir it in with the vegetables.  Add the pasta and approximately 1/4 cup pasta water.  Stir everything together and let it all cook together about 2 minutes, add more pasta water, as needed to make a creamy sauce.  Sprinkle with fresh, chopped parsley and serve hot with crusty bread.