Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Green Spaghetti Monster

Tuesday evening marks the end of Passover.  That calls for a chometz recipe!

I hinted at this recipe in a previous post about Pancakes, of all things.   It's also from Whole Foods for the Whole Family (1981), where it is known as "Green Spaghetti."  I used to really depend alot on this cookbook.  Each recipe was provided by La Leche League moms, and most of them (the recipes, not the moms) can be whipped up in no time at all while holding a baby or toddler on your hip.  That was quite important when my kids were little.  I had to carry them around so much I thought they'd never learn to walk.  But I digress ...

Anyway, the name given in The Book is rather a misnomer:  it's not the spaghetti itself that's green, but the sauce dumped upon it.  Which is why I present it here under a more accurate and descriptive title.

My 3 kids grew up on the stuff.  I guess if you start 'em early, they'll eat anything.  They still request it today, and two of them are taller than me.  Three if you count daDaughter when she's wearing heels.  You never grow out of comfort food. In fact, this is what I will probably serve tomorrow.  Because I want some someone requested it. 

The original recipe starts out with plain frozen spinach.  I streamlined it a bit by using Seabrook Farms' brand of cream o'spinach (it has a KD on the package).  I've tried other brands, but this one, IMHO, is the best.  I have a little more time and more arms now, but I still use the pre-fab stuff as the base.

We use spaghettini (thin spaghetti) in our house, but you can substitute anly regular old pasta of your choice.  

I used to use plain milk mixed with 1-to-1 with powdered milk for the extra protein, but the powdered milk has a pronounced taste.  I've since discovered evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed milk!), which tastes much better, plus imparts the flavor of cream without all those heavy fat-dripping calories.  

Garlic is optional and gives it a more grown-up taste.  Bacos are added to give the dish a nice crunch.  You can omit both if you like (or rather if you don't like).


Spaghetti with Spinach Sauce
Yield:  4 servings


12 ozs. boxed thin spaghettini
1 9 oz. pkg. frozen creamed spinach
1/2 cup evaporated milk (fat-free is OK)
1 tsp. minced garlic (optional)
4-6 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese (more if you like)

4 tsp. Bacos (optional)


Cook spaghettini in salted boiling water for 8 minutes. 


While the pasta is cooking, using a sharp knife cut a large  "X" in the middle of one side of the frozen bag of creamed spinach.  Spread the opening a bit, then place the bag, cup side up, in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on high for one minute.  Remove from oven, flip over the bag and dump the contents into the same bowl.  Using a table knife, chop the spinach into a few chunks.  Add the evaporated milk and garlic.  Cover loosely, then microwave on high for another 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, or until completely defrosted.  Remove from microwave, and set aside on a heat-proof surface, covered until pasta is finished cooking.


When pasta is done al dente, drain in a colander, and run hot water over it for a few seconds to prevent the pasta from sticking together (hot water is cooler than boiling water, yet doesn't cool off the pasta too much).  Divide pasta among 4 pasta bowls.  Stir spinach sauce, then top each with a couple of serving spoons' worth of spinach sauce and a tablespoon or more of parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle with Bacos, if desired.  Serve hot.  


If there is any leftover sauce, add a tablespoon or two of parm cheese and finish it off yourself.

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