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Author Notes: This is a delicious and satisfying one-dish dinner that comes together in the time it takes to boil some pasta. Adapted from a recipe that my Mom and Dad made up after having had a similar dish, its flavors meld nicely in the fridge overnight for a great take-to-work lunch the next day. And it really benefits from using the best quality feta you can find. Serve with a nice crusty bread and a generous pour of your favorite wine. —Jennifer Barry
pound pasta, like cappellini or spaghetti rigate
ounces fresh baby spinach (I prefer the larger amount)
cups good quality extra virgin olive oil
2 to 3
pinches or more red pepper flakes
cups protein of your choice like cooked shrimp, leftover chicken or flank steak, chopped (optional)
cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
ounces sheep's milk feta, crumbled
- Boil the pasta according to package directions, making sure to salt the water.
- Meanwhile, set the spinach in the colander you will be using to drain the pasta.
- Cube or crumble the feta, and set aside.
- Toast the chopped walnuts in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant. Set aside.
- When the pasta is cooked al dente, pour it into the colander to drain, using the heat of the cooking water to wilt the spinach. Drain well.
- Pour the pasta and the spinach into a large serving bowl and immediately douse with the olive oil, stirring to evenly coat.
- Toss in the feta, walnuts, and chicken (if using), as well as the red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.
- Serve hot, or at room temperature. Pass with extra red pepper flakes.
- For the best flavor, let refrigerated leftovers come to room temperature rather than reheating them in the microwave.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dinner That Makes a Good Lunch