Pasta with Greens

Fresh wholemeal linguine with asparagus, peas, spinach and mint.

I try to eat healthy. I swear I do. I try to incorporate a well balanced eating routine but I find that during the "silly" season (Xmas and New Year) things can get a little hectic on the food front. Second helpings and extra sweets can certainly build up into unwanted kilos. So I was looking for a healthier alternative the other night for dinner. My local deli always has a handy supply of goodies and on that particular day I found some freshly made whole wheat linguine. Interesting I thought. I just need to balance this out with some lovely greens. I picked some fresh asparagus, some peas, a bunch of spinach and some fresh mint. Then off to work I went!

While this pasta dish is not of the traditional variety I always believe its good to experiment and play around with food. It was very easy to prepare and it provided me with some very well needed greens. I thought that the linguine might have been a little heavy but it was fine. I have included an extra step for those who want to be a little "wicked" in preparing this dish.

PASTA WITH "GREENS" RECIPE
Pasta of your choice One bunch of asparagus with the stalky bits cut off.
A cup of fresh peas (you can use frozen..less time)
A good handful of spinach
A handful of fresh mint, roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste
A little olive oil
A clove of garlic, finely chopped

Wicked optional ingredient
Mascarpone

1. Do all the usual things. Clean the asparagus and discard the "woody" ends. Shell the peas (if using fresh). Rinse the spinach.
2. Bring two pots of water to the boil. In one, place the asparagus first and let it cook for a couple of mins. Then add the peas and spinach and let it cook for about another minute. (We are looking at blanching here and not cooking everything for too long).
3. Drain the greens and refresh them in some cold water.
4. Now, cook your fresh pasta. (fresh pasta will not take too long to boil. A couple of mins at the most). Once cooked, drain and reserve some of the pasta water.
5. Heat up a fry pan with a little olive oil. Add your minced garlic and let it cook a little. Be wary about burning it! Drain your cooled greens and place in the fry pan. Give it a good toss making sure the greens get coated by the oil.
6. Add the freshly cooked pasta and toss through again.
7. Add the freshly chopped mint and some salt and pepper.
8. If things get a little dry here add some of the reserved pasta water.
9. Finally, if you want to be a little wicked add a good tablespoon of fresh macarpone! It just adds a lovely velvety, soft touch to this dish!
10. Serve with some freshly grated parmesan, a glass of rose and some Sydney sunshine.

Eat your greens!