Recipe: Pasta with Spinach, Garlic and Lemon
You can make this dish with kale, broccoli (which you might want to steam or parboil it before sautéing), arugula, or mesclun (which you could leave raw and allow the hot pasta to wilt), or even a can of tuna. Feel free to experiment with adding capers or olives, or even toasted nuts, to any of these combinations.
Serves 1, with leftovers
• ½ pound farfalle or other small pasta
• large bunch or bag of spinach
• 1 clove garlic
• ½ of a lemon
• olive oil
• pinch of red pepper flakes
• Pecorino Romano cheese
Put a few quarts of water on to boil. Add a generous amount of sea or kosher salt. (Don't use table salt; it has a slightly metallic taste which can be unpleasant, especially if you over salt.) While the water is heating, finely chop the clove of garlic. Wash the spinach, but don't bother to dry it thoroughly. Grate about a quarter cup of the Pecorino Romano.
When the water comes to a rolling boil, drop in the pasta. Cover the pot to return it to a boil, then cook uncovered, stirring once in a while to make sure it cooks evenly.
Meanwhile, heat about two tablespoons of olive oil (or enough to coat the pan) in a skillet or sauté pan, then add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté until they begin to color, then add the spinach. Cook, stirring, until it starts to wilt, then add a few squeezes of lemon juice. When the spinach is wilted, remove it from the heat—you want it somewhere between raw and overcooked, and the heat of the pasta will cook it more, so it's best to err on the side of undercooked.
When the pasta is al dente, drain it and toss it with the spinach and the grated cheese. Serve, topped with more cheese and some black pepper.