If I was in the Star Wars movies I could imagine Daddy Darth Vader saying – The pasta is strong with this one – no surprises here. I love my pasta. Sadly my frame size does not support my habit. Too much pasta = a chubbier version of me. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for hips and curves, but over the past few years I’ve done my best to trim down my pasta consumption. When I pasta these days it is because my craving surpasses my good ‘dietary’ judgement or I am just plain ready to celebrate and indulge.
I used to eat pasta as my go-to “I’m in a rush” pantry meal. I am not implying that I threw it in a pot and ate whatever was available; I am a firm believer in the practice of making every bite the best it can be. I did have to change my mindset from pasta being a regular dinner choice to pasta becoming a special occasion food. Last night was one of those nights – I wanted to indulge. I had been thinking about this pasta concoction for three weeks. I have to confess, it was worth the wait and too good not to share. I hope you enjoy it every bite as much as I did!
Broken Lasagna with Portobello Mushrooms and Chèvre Creamed Baby Spinach
8 oz baby portobello mushrooms, wiped clean, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
1/4 cup pine nuts
Chèvre Creamed spinach (recipe below)
12 oz lasagna noodles, broken
1 large ripe red tomato, cored and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
4 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil.
Spread the portobellos in a single layer on the baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with salt. Roast in the oven until they begin to dry out and turn golden, approximately 15 minutes. Remove from oven and spread the pine nuts on the same baking sheet as the portobellos. Continue to cook another 4-5 minutes or until pine nuts are toasted. Remove the tray from the oven and set aside.
Prepare the creamed spinach.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Break the lasagna sheets into 4 1-inch pieces, add to the water cooking until al dente, approximately 7 minutes. Drain the noodles and immediately return them to the pot with a light drizzle of olive oil; stir to ensure that pasta is coated with olive oil and does not stick together.
Add the portobellos and toss to mix. Gently stir in the creamed spinach, tomato and mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a warmed large platter or serving bowl, sprinkle the pine nuts over the top and serve right immediately.
Chèvre Creamed Spinach
Creamed Spinach Ingredients
1 lb fresh baby spinach, leaves only with stems removed
1 TBS butter
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup soft goat cheese, at room temperature
salt and pepper to taste
Directions for Creamed Spinach
Rinse and drain the spinach. Add spinach to a large pot over medium-high heat until wilted but still bright green, approximately 5 minutes. Drain the spinach again, and when cool, squeeze out water and finely chop.
In a large saute pan over medium heat, melt the butter and then add the garlic and saute until softened; approximately 2 minutes.
Add the cream and goat cheese and whisk until smooth and beginning to boil and thicken. Stir in the spinach and season with salt and pepper.