Pasta with Feta, Spinach and Pine Nuts

by Kristin on October 12, 2010

Nigella Lawson’s new show, Nigella Kitchen, started two weeks ago. The only problem is that it’s on at the same time as River Cottage Everyday with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Luckily, I don’t have to choose between them since I can record River Cottage while I watch Nigella, but if I did have to choose, I think I’d go with the domestic goddess. I know her formula of snug-fitting cashmere twin sets, seductive finger-licking and her fondness for fairy lights is growing old for some people, but I still love her. I even joke that I want to be her when I grow up. This is another 30-minute meal from her new cookbook, taken from her lifesaver express index when I barely had time to think amidst my work deadlines last week, never mind plan meals, shop for them and cook them, but was still able to whip up something healthy and tasty for dinner thanks to this quick and easy recipe.

Pasta with Feta, Spinach and Pine Nuts
adapted from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson

Serves 6

Nigella says the leftovers can be made into an excellent cold pasta salad for lunch the next day by refrigerating it straightaway, then breaking it up a bit with a fork and adding some lemon juice and olive oil.

1 lb 2 oz (500 g) fusilli
1/3 cup (50 g) pine nuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or allspice
1 lb 2 0z (500 g) frozen leaf spinach
7 oz (200 g) feta cheese, crumbled
3 or 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
salt and freshly grated black pepper

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, or according to the packet instructions.

Toast the pine nuts in a hot, dry pan (one that’s big enough to eventually take the sauce and all the pasta) just until they’re golden, taking care not to let them burn. Transfer to a bowl or plate and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in the pan and add the onion. Cook on a low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until soft. If they look like they’re getting too brown, sprinkle with a little salt (to help draw out the juices and slow down the browning). Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the nutmeg or allspice, then add the frozen spinach. Keep stirring to help the frozen spinach melt consistently.

Just before you drain the pasta, scoop out a mug of the cooking water. Add about 1/4 cup (60 ml) to the spinach in the frying pan, then crumble in the feta and stir. Add in the Parmesan and stir again.

Drain the pasta and toss into the spinach and feta sauce, then season to taste. Add in more of the pasta cooking water if the sauce looks too dry. Transfer to a serving bowl, then add the toasted pine nuts and toss through before serving.

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