Ok, so you may not be the pub-crawling, green beer chugging type, anymore. But if you’re not gonna drink green, you gotta at least eat green for St Patty’s Day! This deliciously fun and healthy spinach pasta dish with chard is a breeze to throw together. And with far less sodium and fat than corned beef, it’s a healthy and festive choice. Serve it up with a little luck of the Irish on the side.
I add tiny navy beans for protein and fiber. Navy beans are pea-sized creamy white beans loved so much by the U.S. Navy in the early 20th century that the beans now bear their moniker. Use whichever beans you like best or skip them altogether.
Fresh ricotta (vs that stuff Polly-O sells in a plastic tub) makes all the difference in this dish. Whenever a recipe calls for just a few ingredients, you really want to invest in those ingredients. Any Italian specialty deli or grocer will sell fresh ricotta. And of course, Fairway and Wholefoods have it in their cheese cases. Ricotta is pronounced ‘ri-coat-a’, not ‘ri-cot-a’ as people sometimes say. It literally means ‘recooked’, because it’s produced from the whey, a by-product of cheese-making (those ‘curds and whey’ that Little Miss Muffet was eating – yup – same stuff).
Buon Appetito and a Happy St Patty’s to Ya!
spinach penne with chard, pine nuts and fresh ricotta
- 1 lb dried spinach penne
- 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1 cup fresh ricotta + extra for garnish
- 2 medium-large bunches green swiss chard, rinsed and sliced into 1/2″ strips
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated
- 1 can navy or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1. Bring large pot of water to a boil. Season with 2 Tbs salt. Return to boil. Add pasta, stir and cook until al dente, per package directions. Add chard during the last 2 minutes of cooking time. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water. Drain pasta and chard.
2. Meanwhile, combine toasted pine nuts, ricotta, parmigiano, beans and olive oil in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add cooked pasta and chard plus reserved pasta cooking water. Stir to combine. Serve and top with a dollop of extra fresh ricotta, if desired.
Recipe adapted from Everyday Food Magazine