I always look forward to Sunday afternoons. It’s really the time when I get to rest and unwind after a hectic, toxic week. The options are boundless. Normally, it would be my time to hit the gym for a swim. Or I would use it to do a siesta. I spend it with loved ones too.
And of course, it’s my opportunity to just “play” in the kitchen and do my experiments.
I was very hungry one Sunday afternoon and wanted to make a pasta recipe that, more or less, I’ve never tried making before. When it comes to pasta, I always have a favoritism for basil as a main ingredient. I wanted to veer away from it just for the afternoon.
The result: Cream Cheese and Spinach Pasta
I discovered this incredibly-delicious pack of noodles produced in Australia, which I bought at a supermarket here in Manila. They’re supposedly hand made — or at least, produced as “hand made”. The texture of the noodles is very smooth, but the bite is still al dente. Somehow, there is a taste of freshness to it, compared to the normal, mass produced noodles. Oh, and it gets cooked within just 3 minutes. The catch is, it comes at a more expensive price. Normal pasta noodles cost around 60 to 100 pesos. This one cost around 200. Worth it? Yes!
So what would be a good sauce with these fabulous noodles? Try my cream cheese and spinach sauce. Here’s how it goes.
I’ve always used fresh spinach for my recipes, like quiche. But for this one, I discovered the convenience of using frozen spinach. Unlike fresh spinach, you can keep frozen spinach longer in your fridge. I observed that there is no deterioration in taste at all. It comes in small circles, so it’s easier to control just how much spinach you will use.
To prepare the sauce, simply thaw the frozen spinach. You won’t need to do much chopping. The spinach has been practically chopped for you. It’s like having instant spinach pesto. All you’ll need to do is to add the other ingredients.
In a pan, saute garlic and shrimp in olive oil. Add some lemon juice to take away the fishy taste of the shrimp.
Add the spinach. You can add additional lemon juice to give your spinach more kick. Then add in cream cheese. The more cream cheese you add, the creamier your pasta gets. I love cream cheese and I really do put a lot.
After one minute, you can add the cooked noodles. My recommendation is this: when you cook the noodles, take them out of the water a minute and a half before they actually get cooked. And then, immediately transfer the noodles to the pan. The objective here is to allow the noodles to still absorb liquid (in this case, the sauce) when it still has the capacity to do so. By doing this, the pasta and the sauce combine — synergize — into one dish, instead of having two separate components.
Plate it. And help yourself! Serve your friends and loved ones, who are sure to be madly hungry for this pasta just by smelling its aroma. Enjoy!