Friday, November 20, 2009

Diary of a Foodie and 12 Minute Penne with Spinach Sauce

I have a guilty pleasure. I waste time watching shows on the internet. I discovered that hulu has a food and leisure channel and now I seem to want to create chores I can do in front of the computer so I can watch episodes of Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie. For a food lover it is splendid, images and ideas about food from all of the world's best farmers, home cooks and chefs. Best of all every episode includes recipes you can make in your own kitchen.

One episode really resonated with me- it was living of the land. I cannot remember his name for the life of me- but he is a celebrated chef in France (3 Michelin stars, for those who know about these things) and has recently shifted his restaurant's focus to produce. He said he has done so many things with meat and so many people do; and that he has decided to shift gears and focus on the things of the earth- fruits and vegetables that his is now growing on his own farm outside of Paris. I swooned. It sounded so lovely. Fresh produce he as growing himself and then preparing with all of the attention a 3 star Michelin chef could offer. I just hope the restaurant doesn't go anywhere between now and when I finally have the finances to justify a trip there.

So if you too are looking for jobs around your computer: folding laundry, paying bills and organizing your paper clips so you don't feel like a total time waster check out Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie. It is a lovely inheritance from that sinking ship. I will miss the magazine. This is their final month of production. Goodbye to Gourmet.

And now for today's recipe, which is not from Gourmet, but so simple and perfect that I couldn't wait to give it to you. I want you to make it this week when you have a busy night but a fridge full of spinach. You will love it and commend yourself for making such an excellent dinner in such little time. Because that is how much time you will have since you were so busy organizing the desk while you were watching Diary of a Foodie. Or maybe that was just me.

This is a flexible recipe. I often play around with the cheeses, subbing in what I have in the fridge so long as it is a complimentary flavor or something tangy: a good sheep's milk cheese or feta can be stand ins for the goat cheese or use some ricotta or mascarpone for the cream cheese if that is what you have. You could also use some thawed frozen spinach is that is what you have around.

Penne with Spinach Sauce
Giada de Laurentis
Everyday Italian

serves 6

1 pound whole wheat or multi grain penne
3 garlic cloves
2 ounces goat cheese
1 ounce reduced fat cream cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the penne and cook until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes.

Mince the garlic in a food processor. Add the goat cheese, cream cheese, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and half of the spinach leaves. Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Set the cheese and spinach mixture aside.

Meanwhile, place the remaining spinach leaves in a large bowl.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Spoon the pasta atop the spinach leaves in the bowl. Scrape the cheese and spinach mixture over the pasta mixture and toss to coat, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the Parmesan over and serve.


  1. I have never heard of pesteo/penne with cream cheese but a restaurant I worked for in Provo used cream cheese in their alfredo....soo.....

    I need to check out some shows on hulu. I hear that is a great site. One more thing to do to suck time away.....

  2. I watched that clip on hulu -- it was gREAT!

  3. they are all great. hope you enjoy the pasta too.

  4. Made it tonight, It was delicious! Next time I think I'll add pine nuts just for fun.


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