Pepper and Spinach Penne

This weekend, bell peppers had invaded my local market with a vengeance!  It seemed like each stand had piles of huge bell peppers of all colors.  So, I’m sure you can guess what’s on the menu this week!

I had never made this recipe before, but it came out really well.  Please keep in mind that the ingredient amounts below (specifically for spices) are only approximate because the first couple times I make something, I go by taste and pinches.  So, as always, play with your food and use this version as a starting point (next time, I’ll likely add an extra 1/4 tsp more of paprika)!

Pepper and Spinach Penne:

Pepper and Spinach Penne

Equipment:

  • Large pot, large saute pan, spatula or wooden spoon, strainer or colander, knife, cutting board, stove

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. uncooked penne pasta
  • 1 generous bunch fresh spinach (close to 3/4-1 lb.), washed, stems trimmed off, and leaves roughly shredded
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into a large dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into a large dice
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into a large dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp evoo, divided
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • dash of crushed red pepper (or more as desired)
  • 3-6 oz. goat cheese (amount as desired – I ended up going closer to 6 oz and it was really good)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1) Cook the penne in the large pot filled with boiling salted water until penne is al dente (about 8-9 mins).  While the pasta is cooking, prep your veggies and make sure to carefully wash your spinach.  To prep the spinach, just pinch off the stems and then shred the leaves by ripping them with your hands 2-3 times.  Once the pasta is done cooking, strain it, and drizzle 1 Tbsp of evoo over the hot pasta.  Stir the pasta so it’s well coated in the oil and the penne won’t stick together.  Set aside.

2) Heat the other 2 Tbsp of evoo in the saute pan over medium high heat.  Add the peppers and garlic and cook for about 1 minute.  Add the spinach to the pan, and stir for 5-6 mins until the spinach is fully wilted down.  Continue to cook the peppers and garlic in the water the spinach released for another 1-2 mins.

3) Before the water is totally evaporated from the pan, add the paprika, salt, and crushed red pepper and stir in.  Then, add the ground black pepper and the dried basil.  Stir to make sure everything is well incorporated.  Taste one of the peppers to make sure they are somewhat soft, but still have a bright flavor and texture.

4) Add the penne to the pan, and toss the veggies and pasta together.  Top with crumbles of the goat cheese before serving. Stir in the goat cheese to make a creamy sauce, otherwise just let the crumbles sit on top and get warmed through.

5)  ENJOY!!

What to Drink? Vodka Tonics

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