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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Creamy Spinach Pasta

Created this last night to use up some leftover frozen spinach.

1/4 cup olive oil
1-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cooked spinach
4 oz. cream cheese
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup parmesan
cooked pasta (penne, ziti, rotini, etc.)
kosher salt
fresh-ground pepper

Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly tanned and fragrant, a few minutes. Add spinach and stir, mixing it with the garlic and coating the spinach with oil. Cook until heated through, a few minutes, and add cream cheese. Kick the heat up to medium-high and combine with spinach until cheese is melted. Add milk, a little at a time, until it becomes a creamy, sauce-like consistency. Add parmesan, salt and pepper to taste and continue cooking until heated through. If it is too thick, add more milk. Combine with noodles and mix thoroughly.

I served this with some garlic bread, and since I wanted to serve the pasta as an entree I added chicken. You could use leftover chicken; just cut into bite-size pieces. I poured a little bit of lemon juice over a chicken breast, ground some pepper over it and stuck it in the oven as I was doing my prep work and it was done at just the right time. I cut it into bite-size pieces and added it into the spinach mixture just before adding the noodles. It was wonderfully juicy from the poaching, and the lemon juice gave it a nice citrusy kick to cut through the heaviness of the cheeses. For extra flavor, sear the chicken for a minute on each side in a hot skillet before putting it in the oven.

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