Pasta Florentine

Colourful warm pasta on a bed of spinach
06/03/2016 10:03:33 PM vindhyadesai

Pasta can be be made for an early evening supper. It can be made in various ways with various types of ingredients and of course with different shapes and sizes of pasta. Pasta with loads of vegetables is my favourite way to eat it. Carbohydrates balanced with enough fibre. Cooking pasta is tricky business but very easy if you follow the instructions on the pack you have got. The most important thing to remember about cooking a pasta dish is to cook the pasta with the sauce you are making which makes the pasta non-sticky and all the flavours of the sauce enter into the pasta making your dish very tasty, just like how the Italians do it.
Pasta Florentine is a dish from the Florence region of Italy and it also means something served on a bed of spinach.

Pasta Florentine
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Colourful warm pasta on a bed of spinach
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 2 people
Ingredients
  • 100 Gm or 2 Cups penne pasta
  • ½ Tbsp butter
  • ½ Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic
  • ½ medium sized yellow bell pepper
  • 10-12 halved cherry tomatoes
  • 200 Gm or one big bowl of spinach leaves
  • 1 Tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ Tsp cayenne pepper (substitute with red chilli powder if you do not have cayenne pepper)
  • ¼ Tsp sweet smoked paprika (most supermarkets have this in small bottles/jars, skip it if you do not get it)
  • Few leaves of fresh basil chopped (substitute with dried leaves if you cannot get fresh. Fresh basil leaves taste better)
  • 2 Tbsp grated parmesan
  • Salt to taste
Method
  1. Bring water with little salt to a rolling boil in a vessel or deep pan
  2. Add penne pasta and cook for 12-14 minutes or as per the package instructions till al-dente (to the tooth)
  3. Drain the pasta, keep aside
  4. In a pan, heat butter and olive oil. Add garlic before oil heats up which prevents garlic from burning and still releases the flavours
  5. Add diced yellow bell pepper and saute for a minute
  6. Add halved cherry tomatoes and saute for a minute till they release some of their juices
  7. Add ground black pepper. Mix well
  8. Add chopped basil leaves. Mix well
  9. Add washed spinach leaves. Saute for a few seconds till spinach starts to wilt
  10. Add cooked pasta. Mix well
  11. Sprinkle salt, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika
  12. Toss everything well with some more chopped basil
  13. Grate parmesan cheese on top
  14. Serve immediately with a basil leaf on top and any salad on the side (an easy one: a simple mix of torn lettuce, halved cherry tomatoes mixed with ground black pepper, honey and olive oil)
Notes
Use any shape of pasta, fusilli, rigatoni pasta work well

Allow upto 50-80 gm of pasta per person per serving. For dinner, I usually prefer it on the lower side at 50-60 gm. For lunch, I serve 80-90 gm of pasta per person per serving

Use any coloured bell pepper green, red, orange. I used yellow bell pepper for a mix of colours yellow from the bell pepper, red from cherry tomatoes and green from spinach and basil

Use any kind of herb you like in place of smoked paprika, anything that enhances the flavour. Make the pasta your own

Grate regular cheese if you do not get parmesan or skip it entirely

Skip butter and add 1 tbsp of olive oil in total and skip parmesan cheese to make the pasta vegan

 Stepwise:

Bring water with little salt to a rolling boil in a vessel or deep pan
IMG_8043
Add penne pasta and cook for 12-14 minutes or as per the package instructions till al-dente (to the tooth)
IMG_8042 IMG_8045 IMG_8053
Drain the pasta, keep aside
IMG_8054
In a pan, heat butter and olive oil. Add garlic before oil heats up which prevents garlic from burning and still releases the flavours
IMG_8056 IMG_8057 IMG_8058
Add diced yellow bell pepper and saute for a minute
IMG_8059 IMG_8060
Add halved cherry tomatoes and saute for a minute till they release some of their juices
IMG_8061 IMG_8063
Add ground black pepper. Mix well
IMG_8065 IMG_8066
Add chopped basil leaves. Mix well
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Add washed spinach leaves. Saute for a few seconds till spinach starts to wilt
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Add cooked pasta. Mix well
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Sprinkle salt, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika
IMG_8081
Toss everything well with some more chopped basil
IMG_8083
Grate parmesan cheese on top
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Serve immediately with a basil leaf on top and any salad on the side (an easy one: a simple mix of torn lettuce, halved cherry tomatoes mixed with ground black pepper, honey and olive oil)
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