This recipe describes how I like my holidays: simple and with wine. I don’t get too wrapped up in holiday craziness – I don’t fight crowds at the mall, I don’t bake ten million cookies, and I don’t cook a christmas ham (is that what people still do?). But I do enjoy making easy elegant dinners like this one. This pasta is bright and merry, with squeezes of lemon and splashes of Barefoot Pinot Grigio.
The recipe starts with a very light lemony white wine sauce made with olive oil, shallots and garlic. Then, I toss in a few handfuls of spinach before tossing everything with the pasta.
Finally, I toast pine nuts, rosemary, and breadcrumbs for texture and add a few red pepper flakes for kick. This is a simple recipe that’s a bit of a blank canvas. Feel free to customize this however you like – it would be yummy with other vegetables such as mushrooms, kale or swiss chard. And if you’re not vegetarian, seafood would be delicious in here as well.
Serve with fresh parsley, parmesan cheese (optional), and a few glasses of wine (not optional). Cheers!
- 8-ounces brown rice capellini pasta, plus reserved pasta water
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 shallot, minced (about ⅓ cup)
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed, but still whole
- ¼ cup Barefoot Pinot Grigio
- juice and zest of ½ lemon, more to taste
- 4 cups baby spinach
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, optional
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs (*see note)
- 1 teaspoon minced rosemary
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- pinch of sea salt
- Make the topping (optional): In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the pine nuts, panko, rosemary, red pepper flakes and salt. Set aside.
- Prepare a large pot of salted boiling water. Wait to drop the pasta into the water until after you’ve cooked the shallot in the next step below. At that point, cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente, then scoop it out of the water directly into the sauce when indicated. Reserve the pasta water.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and a pinch of salt and cook until soft, about 6 minutes, adding the crushed garlic cloves halfway through. Add the wine, stir, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then stir in the lemon juice. Remove the garlic cloves and discard.
- Reduce the heat to low, stir in the spinach, then scoop the pasta into the pan. Toss until the spinach is wilted. Stir in ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water to loosen the pasta in the pan. Add more water if needed.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in half of the toasted pine nut topping, the lemon zest, parsley, and parmesan cheese, if using. Season with salt, pepper, and more lemon to taste. Divide the pasta into bowls and top each with the remaining toasted pine nut topping.
For a richer sauce, add a pat of butter or a bit of cream after stirring in the wine.
This post is in partnership with Barefoot Wine. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep us cooking!