Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pasta with Creamy Spinach Walnut Sauce

Here's another healthy recipe from Moosewood. I rarely eat cottage cheese (okay I don't think I've eaten it even once in probably 10 years) so I wasn't sure how this would turn out but I was really happy with the dish. The low-fat cottage cheese makes the sauce creamy while adding lots of protein and not much fat. And I discovered that yes cottage cheese does taste good! Especially if it's in the large curd form. Anyway I guess this dish could be thought of as a kind of creamy pesto. Next time I'll add something else to it like sauteed mushrooms or some extra chopped walnuts. The only bad thing is that it's not very good reheated.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Black Bean Chilaquile
Soba Noodles with Zucchini Ribbons
Spinach Walnut Pesto
Portabello Fettuccine with Spinach Pesto, Roasted Peppers & Romano Cheese

Pasta with Creamy Spinach Walnut Sauce
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites

My adaptations were small - extra garlic (2 instead of 1 clove), 300 grams frozen spinach instead of 10 ounces fresh, less salt, and freeze dried basil instead of fresh (though the fresh basil can easily be replaced by a tablespoon or so of dried.)

300 g frozen spinach
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup freeze dried basil
1/4 tsp salt
ground black pepper to taste
1 lb pasta

1 head broccoli (optional extra vegetable)

Bring a large covered pot of water to a rapid boil.

If using fresh spinach, wash it and steam it. (Cover and cook the spinach on medium-high heat for about 4 minutes, until wilted but still bright green, drain.) If using frozen spinach, thaw in the fridge (if you have that much foresight!) or in the microwave. Drain. In a food processor or blender, combine the spinach, walnuts, cottage cheese, garlic, Parmesan, basil, and salt and puree until smooth, working ni batches if necessary. Add pepper to taste and set aside.

When the water boils, stir in the pasta, cover and return to a boil. Then uncover the pot and cook until the pasta is al dente, about 7 minutes. While the pasta cooks, cut the broccoli into spears, blanch it in boiling water to cover until just tender, about 5 minutes and set it aside. Alternately, steam the broccoli. Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce. Add several steamed broccoli spears.


VeggieGirl said...

Mmm, comforting!!

kickpleat said...

i like the sounds of it! i've got that cookbook so i'll have to give it another once-over since i don't think i've made too much from it!

Sarah said...

Mmmmm...this sounds yummy! I've used cottage cheese to sub for ricotta in Italian dishes, with really great results! Of course, I threw it in the food processor for a few minutes first to get out all the lumps...I'm not a large curd kind of girl. ;)

Snooky doodle said...

wow never thought spinach can look so good :)

Vegetation said...

Ooo! Fascinating. I've starred this in my google reader to try. I've never thought to try using cottage cheese on pasta, but I find the idea rather appealing. Yum!

Grace said...

oddly enough, i only eat cottage cheese in pasta dishes. it gives me the willies to even think about someone combining it with pineapple and gobbling it down. ick. :)
great recipe, fantastic colors. :)

Ricki said...

I used to LOVE cottage cheese (weird, I know) and I do love spinach--this sounds great! I bet I could adapt it, too. . . wheels turning. . . ;)

Bellini Valli said...

This is the perfect food...healthy and deliciius all at the same time:D

Joanna said...

this looks so delicious and healthy. it has every part of the food pyramid!! score!!!

i love spinach. i try to eat it every day. i used to be obsessed with cottage cheese though! i would eat a tub of it every day. my fridge was stocked with it haha

Maria said...

I love a good pasta dish and this looks wonderful!!

Steph said...

I love cottage cheese, especially since its the only guilt free cheese. I'm not too into the aged or strong stuff anyway so it's all good! Have you ever tried making a cheese cake with cottage cheese, it's suprisingly good and even though it's a low fat cheesecake, it's still pretty high in the saturated fat.

I never cooked with cottage cheese for making a cheese sauce, that sounds like a great idea. I always thought there wasn't enough fat in it to make it cheesey, but your dish looks great!

Erin said...

This looks delicious! I love Moosewood recipes. Their pasta dishes are always so good.

The Food Librarian said...

Oh my! This looks sooo good! And healthy omega-3 full too! :) It is just beautiful!

Zesty Cook said...

very comforting... great post

Holler said...

I only, ever eat cottage cheese on a baked potato, but this is a really good idea! I will have to think about how else I could combine it!

giz said...

The picture alone is enough to make me want this dish. It does look entirely appealing.

Deborah said...

I love cottage cheese, so I'm pretty sure I'd love this!

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love Moosewood's cookbooks. I made their low-fat banana muffins earlier which are divine & when I saw this recipe I decided to make it. I'm eating it now & LOVING it!! It tastes like pesto, but much lower fat. You wouldn't even know it has cottage cheese unless you saw the recipe!