It's my birthday today! Woohoo, I'm finally 25!
I should be posting a picture of a layer cake topped with candles, or some decadent cupcakes I baked as a birthday treat to myself, but alas, instead this post is about spaghetti. The carrot and pineapple cupcakes with cream cheese frosting I baked last week did not turn out as pretty as a picture (serves me right for trying to make them in 20 minutes and not following a recipe), so I've been eating them in hiding all week and plan to do so again later today (maybe with a candle in one). They will sadly not be posted or eaten anywhere they can be seen.
This simple spaghetti dinner, however, will be my birthday post. It's easy, quick, and satisfying.
It's a perfect weeknight supper that is ready in minutes. I made it for M and myself before we headed out the door this weekend to see Maroon 5 and Owl City in concert (my birthday present from M!). The Barilla Plus pasta made it filling enough to hold us through the show, but the dish as a whole was light (perfect for a summer night). After the concert, our tummies guided us to Franklin Fountain. Luckily, we got there ten minutes before it closed at midnight: perfect timing to score a giant cone of my favorite peanut butter ice cream to enjoy all the way back home.
So, as a main dish this spaghetti is a nice option for a light supper or when you want to save room for dessert... which is always in my case. It would also be delicious tossed with some shrimp and olive oil or as a side dish. Enjoy!
Spaghetti tossed with Spinach and Tomatoes: (serves 2)
1/2 box Barilla Plus spaghetti*
2 T olive oil
1 or 2 Roma tomatoes, diced into 1" pieces
8 oz. fresh spinach
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. chile flakes
1 t. salt
1 t. ground black pepper
1/4 cup reserved cooking water*(Barilla Plus is made with Lentils, and packs extra protein and fiber. I always use it in pasta dishes that do not contain meat or another protein so that the dish is still both filling and nutritious).
Prepare the pasta al-dente and reserve the cooking water.
While the water is heating and the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a medium pan. Add the tomatoes and stir to cook until fragrant and soft, then add the garlic, stir 30 seconds. Add the spaghetti straight into the pan and reduce the heat to low. Add a few T of cooking water and the spinach and toss with the salt, chile flakes, and pepper until the spinach wilted. Turn off the heat and add more cooking water to moisten the dish as needed. Adjust spices to your taste, and serve topped with grated Parmesan cheese.