Quick Weeknight Almost-Vegetarian Pantry Pasta

October 25, 2017
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  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I get routinely accused of making up dinner on the fly, not remembering what I did and then never making it again. So....I'm putting this one up at the request of my beleaguered husband so that I'll remember what I did when he asks for it later on. Which he assures me he will.

To make this all-the-way vegetarian, omit the anchovies. And it doesn't matter what size your frozen spinach or canned tomatoes are - it will work just fine whether it's a 12 oz can or a 28 oz can. And heck, you can use fresh spinach if you want. Use what you have. It's a Tuesday and the weekend is a loooong way away. —Niknud

What You'll Need
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon anchovy paste (omit if making vegetarian)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • generous splash of white wine (say 'glug glug glug' in your head while pouring)
  • 1 package of frozen spinach, cooked per instructions
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 pound dried pasta (I used rotini)
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • toasted pine nuts
  1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil and add the pasta, cooking to a minute or two less than the instructions - you want the noodles a little on the underdone side since you will finish cooking it in the sauce. While pasta water is coming to a boil, take care of the rest of the recipe.
  2. In a large, high sided sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add the anchovy paste, smashing with a spoon to break up. Add the garlic and white wine and cook for a few minutes. I don't like the garlic to brown so I add it at the same time as the wine but if you want it a bit more browned, add before the wine and let cook for about 1 minute.
  3. Add spinach, tomatoes, capers and red pepper flakes and cook for a few minutes until everything gets all nice and warmed together. If the sauce starts to get a little tight before the pasta is done cooking, take a little bit of the pasta water and add to the pan.
  4. Add the drained pasta to the sauté pan along with some of the pasta water (if needed). Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the noodles are done to your liking.
  5. Serve with toasted pine nuts and shavings of parmesan cheese.
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Recipe by: Niknud

Full-time working wife and mother of two small boys whose obsessive need to cook delicious food is threatening to take over what little free time I have. I grew up in a family of serious cookers but didn't learn to cook myself until I got married and got out of the military and discovered the joys of micro-graters, ethiopian food, immersion blenders and watching my husband roll around on the floor after four servings of pulled pork tamales (with real lard!) complaining that he's so full he can't feel his legs. Trying to graduate from novice cooker to ranked amateur. The days of 'the biscuit incident of aught five' as my husband refers to it are long past but I still haven't tried my hand at paella so I'm a work in progress!

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