I've been on a veggie kick of late (it's crazy how eating green things can make you feel so much better--green gummy bears are included in my category of life-improving green things). Last night, I was craving some simple noodles with some fresh green goodness. I threw together this super simple pasta dish in about 15 minutes.
Lemon & Garlic Butter Pasta with Broccoli & Spinach
1 box rotini noodles
1 head of fresh broccoli
1 1/2 cups fresh spinach leaves
1 clove fresh garlic
2 tblsp. fresh lemon juice (I used that fake lemon from a bottle and it was still good)
4 tblsp. butter
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste
In a large pot, bring about 1 1/2 quarts of water to a bowl. Salt water and add noodles. As the noodles cook, prep broccoli and spinach. Rinse broccoli and cut into small florets a.k.a. bite-size bits. Chiffonade spinach leaves. (Chiffonade is a fancy French word that means "to shred or cut finely." Here's how it's done: First, take a handful of your spinach and stack the leaves so the lie fairly flat; this doesn't have to be perfect, just a bit organized. Second, roll the stack of leaves into a bundle, kind of like you would roll up a newspaper. Third, place the bundly on a cutting board--keep holding on to it, or it will come unrolled--and slice through the bundle of leaves with a sharp knife, just like you would to cut a cucumber into rounds. I made my slices about 1/4 inch thick. This technique can also be used to chop fresh basil, mint, sage, and even cilantro and parsely.) Set veggies aside - they don't join the party until later.
As the pasta continues to boil, melt 2 tblsp. of butter in a small saute pan. Dice garlic and add to sizzling butter. Combine red pepper and a bit of cracked black pepper. Saute until garlic turns slightly golden brown. (And fills your entire apartment with its aroma, as my roommates could testify.) Add remaining 2 tblsp. of butter and remove from heat.
Test pasta. As so as it is almost done as you like it, add the broccoli. The broccoli only needs to cook with the pasta for about 1 minute. Drain pasta and broccoli and add back to the pan. While the pasta is still hot, stir in the spinach. The left-over heat will cook the spinach just enough, leaving it a lovely green color. Just before serving, add lemon juice to melted butter. Stir thouroughly and pour over pasta and veggies.
Server topped with plenty of parmesan cheese and freshly cracked black pepper.
*Unfortunately, there are no pictures of this dish, as I gobbled it up too quickly. So, instead, since I'm craving summertime even more than green veggies, there's this. Cause nothing says summer like rainbow sandals, beat-up concrete, bare legs, and bright blue toenails.*