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Pasta is Always a Favorite

by Samantha Bailey

Growing up, my Italian family designated Sunday as our pasta day in which we were guaranteed to have pasta and eat a long family meal. So naturally, pasta is my favorite food. Not only because it reminds me of my family, but it also happens to be one of the most versatile and delicious foods.

This recipe was taught to me by my aunt, Tania, who is one of the greatest cooks I know. She taught me that you shouldn’t limit pasta to penne vodka because there are infinite things you can do with it.

This recipe is for spinach tomato pasta and it’s absolutely fantastic. It’s an easy recipe that’s packed with delicious flavors and veggies. This is a simple family favorite that’s easy to whip up in 20 minutes if you’re in a time crunch.

You’ll need:

2 one-pound packs of Campari tomatoes

1 16 ounce container of spinach

2 tablespoons of olive oil

10 large cloves of garlic, minced

Generous amounts of salt and pepper

1 pound of the pasta of your choice (rigatoni or penne might work best)

1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (optional)

This recipe calls for Campari tomatoes, which are both sweet and soft. They cook extremely well and are perfect for pasta and pizzas. I find that these tomatoes make the recipe delicious, even though I usually only like tomatoes in sauce form.

First, wash your tomatoes and cut them into fourths. Once you’ve done that to all of your tomatoes set them aside. Now, it’s time to start up your pasta pot with generously salted water. Let your pot come to a boil while you’re making the sauce.

Next, mince your garlic cloves. In my house, garlic is a must. I may put more cloves in, depending on how big each clove is. Once you’ve minced the garlic, you can start up a frying pan with sides and put your olive oil in it.

Wait about two minutes and add your garlic, salt and pepper. You should start to smell the garlic getting cooked almost immediately. After the garlic is browned, add your tomatoes.


Let your spinach, garlic, and tomatoes cook together in the olive oil.
Samantha Bailey | The Montclarion

It’s a tricky balance finding the right cook time for tomatoes. As soon as your tomatoes start to get soft in the oil and garlic, or after about three minutes, add your spinach.

In between the movements of adding your spinach and covering your pan to let it cook, add your pasta to your now boiling water. Let it cook, stirring every two minutes. Once you’ve finished adding your spinach, let it cook until it is tender on a light simmer to prevent the tomatoes from overcooking.

Be sure to check your pasta while it is cooking. You want your pasta to be slightly undercooked. Whatever the box says is the time of cooking, subtract two minutes from it.

After you’ve checked your pasta, remove the lid from your pan and begin to add your pasta. Add it in somewhat small batches, so it doesn’t overwhelm your pan. Once all your pasta has been added, use tongs to mix up the pasta in the tomato-spinach mixture.


The delicious pasta dish as it cooks in the pot.
Samantha Bailey | The Montclarion

After it’s evenly combined, I like to add red pepper flakes as a garnish, but it’s optional if you don’t like spicy food. You should serve this dinner immediately. It’s so much better warm than it is at room temperature.

This recipe is incredibly easy and makes a delicious meal for the whole family. I also think this recipe works great with a lean protein on top, such as grilled chicken or shrimp.

This particular time I added shrimp to my pasta. However, if you choose not to add a protein, spinach and garlic are great for your health and they have a ton of vitamins and antioxidants. This is great for a springtime meal because it incorporates many fresh vegetables.

Enjoy this pasta with someone you love. Until the next bite.


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