Dinner with Kirsten

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Dinner for One: Pasta with Greens and Goat Cheese

December 15th, 2008 · 63 Comments

pasta with greens

An evening alone. . . Sigh. . . I love being alone sometimes. There’s no pressure to “do” anything, there’s no struggle for the remote, there’s no need to brush my hair or take a shower and, most of all, there’s no need to compromise over dinner. So, when Geoff made last minute plans to go out with his guy friends for all-you-can-eat hot wings, I changed my mind about what to eat for dinner five times on my way home after work.

Luckily, a shiny new cookbook had been delivered to me that very day: Giada De Laurentiis’ Everyday Pasta. I thinking about making frozen salmon, then tuna sandwiches, then hamburgers, and then I flipped a page in Giada’s book and saw a familiar recipe. I once saw Giada make her Orecchiette with Mixed Greens on television, and if I hadn’t completely forgotten about the recipe I’m sure I would have made it sooner. It’s a jewel of a recipe ripe for improvisation.

Pasta is one of the only types of food that I’m comfortable experimenting with. I once had an Italian suitemate who threw ingredients into a pan willy-nilly, based on some concept learned at his grandmother’s elbow and not a recipe. The resulting dish was always incredible – the best pasta I’ve ever eaten – and I’ve been trying to emulate his carefree style with ever since.

pasta with greens

The basic concept for this dish is that you make a salad and then mix the hot pasta with it, along with a ladle-full of pasta water. The goat cheese gets semi-melted and the greens wilt just a little. It was super easy and it turned out amazing. I think I could eat it once a week, and I definitely plan on making it for Geoff sometime.

Pasta with Greens and Goat Cheese (for One)
Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis’ Everyday Pasta and Food Network

Whole wheat spaghetti (as much as you think you can eat)
Mixed greens (about 2 cups, maybe)
Goat cheese
Chopped sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (a few spoonfuls)
Lunch meat sliced into bite-sized pieces (If you want a little meat in your dinner, grab whatever lunch meat you hae in the fridge. I used salami and turkey.)
Toasted pine nuts
A pinch of salt and pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.

Make the salad while the pasta cooks. Toss together the remaining ingredients, the greens, sun-dried tomatoes, meat, pine nuts, salt and pepper and Parmesan.

Top the salad with the cooked pasta and the reserved 1/2 cup pasta water, toss to combine, top with a little more Parmesan and enjoy!

Tags: dinner · italian · quick fix · recipes · salad

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