Sneaky Spinach, 'Shrooms and Bowties

By • March 9, 2010 21 Comments

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Author Notes: My husband is a very selective eater. The list of foods he won't eat is definitely daunting, but over the years, he's gotten a little more adventurous and I've become very creative in the kitchen. Sometimes I've been downright sneaky. He said he hated spinach. But he loved this pasta dish when my sister in law served something like it. So, for the first eight years of our marriage, I told him he was eating swiss chard. Then he caught me. Now it's a regular in our rotation. Satisfying especially with baby spinach just picked from the garden. (PS He doesn't have a clue about the anchovies and will be very surprised when he reads this.)MrsWheelbarrow

Food52 Review: This is a delicious, thoughtful recipe. The idea is simple and basic, but it's the perfect timing with flavorful little 'extras' that make this recipe really special. Just the right amount of garlic tossed in towards the end of cooking keeps the garlic tasting fresh and zingy. Adding anchovies and butter after sautéing the mushrooms (rather than during) adds a big burst of salty flavor that stands on its own, and doesn't get overpowered by the mushrooms. The toppings really round out the dish, bringing everything together and making it a fulfilling and interesting entree. I will be making this again (in fact, it might be my go-to weeknight pasta recipe from now on) with a few tweaks: Less pasta for the amount of spinach and mushrooms (the spinach and 'shrooms were so flavorful that we wished we had more of them... they were a little too sneaky!), and in addition to lemon zest, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice at the end to brighten it up even more. - Loves Food Loves to EatThe Editors

Serves 2

  • 1/2 pound farfalle or other fun pasta shape
  • olive oil
  • 1 quart cremini (or really any) mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • generous pinches red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, rinsed and spun in the salad spinner
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 anchovies
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs, toasted
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesian cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  1. In a large stockpot, bring salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta al dente.
  2. While the pasta cooks, heat some olive oil in a large wide saute pan with sides. I use an AllClad 4 qt. saucier.
  3. Add the mushrooms and season with the red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Cook slowly, undisturbed, until the mushrooms have given off their liquid and reabsorbed it - about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and stir and cook briefly. Push the mushrooms off to the side, add the butter and anchovies to the center of the pan and cook and mash the fish up into the butter. Now stir the mushrooms back in.
  5. Hopefully, the pasta is now ready, so drain it into a colander, and add it into the pan with the mushrooms and anchovies. Stir it around, then add all the spinach and toss to cook. The heat of the pasta will wilt/cook the spinach.
  6. I like to serve this in a large shallow serving bowl. Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil into the bowl.
  7. Stir the pasta, spinach, mushroom mix up well and add pasta water as necessary to make it a little saucy. Place in the serving bowl. Top with pine nuts, breadcrumbs, parmesian and lemon zest.

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