Saturday, August 22, 2009

Baked Fresh Fettuccine with Spinach

This recipe is adapted from the same cookbook, The New Complete Book of Pasta, by Maria Luisa and Jack Denton Scott, that I got the pasta recipe I posted earlier from. My recipe has been tweaked in several areas.

Baked Fresh Fettuccine with Spinach Serves 4
3/4 lb to 1 lb Pasta (depending how much sauce you like - this is not a super saucy dish, it's supposed to just coat each strand). You can substitute store fettuccine - not as good, but is a whole lot faster to use.
1 Pound spinach (to be honest, we use 10 oz. because that's the size of the bag that we use. I think it'd be great with the whole amount, though)
1 large white onion
1 garlic clove, minced
4-8 slices bacon, diced (Whatever amount makes you feel yummy, but still pretend healthy)
1 tsp butter (If you like your fats a lot, you can use more here.)
1 tsp olive oil
2 Tbs flour
1 and 1/2 C. light cream
Juice of one lemon - about 1/4 -1/3 of a cup (You can use the bottled stuff, but the fresh does taste better - it's more potent somehow.)
1 tsp. salt
liberal black pepper to taste
4 Tbs. Parmesan Cheese

1.Make fresh pasta and cut into fettuccine and dry.
2. Cook spinach without any water in a covered pan until soft (check often)Spinach before cooking.
The same spinach after.

Let the spinach cool, then drain out all the liquid (by standing over the sink and squeezing it, is our method) and chop finely.

3.Finely dice onion, bacon and mince the garlic. Saute over medium heat in the butter and oil until soft. Drain out any bacon fat, if desired. Add the flour and blend it in, then let cook for about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in the cream, until the sauce is smooth.

4. Blend in the spinach and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

5.Meanwhile have water boiling, in the largest pot you own. Cook the noodles less then al dente, which for fresh noodles is 1 to 2 minutes only. For store bought noodles cook until almost done.

6.Drain, put in large hot oven proof bowl.
Toss with spinach sauce.

7. Sprinkle the 4 Tbs. Parmesan cheese over the top. Bake at 375 Degrees for 10 minutes.
You can also skip the baking step, if it's summertime and there is no way you'll turn your oven on. In that case, cook the noodles until they're done.

The original recipe used Pancetta instead of bacon, 1 1/2 pounds of Fettuccine (the whole fresh pasta recipe), 2 Tbs. butter and 2 Tbs. Olive Oil, and 2 pounds of spinach. If you want to make it really authentically, then by all means, please do so. I cut the pasta, because American tastes usually prefer a saucier dish than Italian ones, in my experience.

We love this dish. It has just the right amount of lemon zing with creamy, spinach undertones. (Now I'm going to start describing the bouquet, like it's a fancy wine). Also, especially if you use store pasta, it's really not a difficult dinner to bring together. We eat this with a salad, and it makes a complete meal. This reheats well the next day, but I often add some extra (reconstituted in a bottle) Lemon juice, because somehow the reheating makes it lose it lemony goodness. The recipe is best when made with Fresh Pasta, and Baked, but the fact we love it even half followed says something.


Heidi Davies said...

I love putting bacon in my fettucine dishes, but I've never been happy with the way the bacon crumbles into the sauce. I've never thought of choopping the bacon before it's cooked, I've just always crumbled it after it cooks. I'm going to have to try it this way next time. Thanks for the idea.

woolspinner said...

Very yummy recipe, Thora! Thank you for not giving up on us.