Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Spinach

I eat pasta so often that if I were to have it with meat, cheese, and/or a deliciously rich sauce every time, I’d be a carbohydrate-ticking-time-bomb just waiting for a heart attack.  But for the purpose of a day-to-day meal, easy and straightforward is my preference.  Don’t get me wrong, spaghetti with meatballs topped with parmesan cheese in a gorgeous sauce that had been simmered for hours with bacon is absolutely heavenly….
By keeping the dish fresh and simple, this meal is light and healthy, and cooks up in less than 20 minutes.  It is great for lunch or dinner.  Plus, all the ingredients are readily available and very affordable.  So it’s not only healthy for your diet, it’s healthy for your budget too.

serves 6
– 1 lb spaghetti
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 2 lbs tomatoes, diced
– 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
– 3 cups spinach leaves
– olive oil
– salt and pepper

1.  Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water until “al dente,” about 9 minutes.  It should be firm to the bite, but not hard.
2.  Prepare the sauce while the spaghetti is boiling.  Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the garlic until just golden, then add the tomatoes and oregano.  Cook the tomatoes, stirring occasionally, until they have broken down into a sauce.  Add some of the boiling pasta water as the tomatoes are cooking to maintain a saucy consistency.  Stir in the spinach leaves, cook until wilted.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3.  Drain the spaghetti once it is finished cooking, reserving 2 cups of the pasta water.  Toss the pasta with the tomatoes and spinach, adding any of the reserved pasta water as needed if the pasta is too thick.
4.  Of course you can toss in a handful of cheese, no one is watching you… except maybe your conscience!
5.  Wasn’t that easy?  Now go eat!

*  The great thing about this simple tomato sauce is that you can change it’s flavor by simply using different herbs.  Oregano today, thyme tomorrow, maybe sage or basil next week. Better yet, try a combination!
*  Don’t like spinach?  Use arugula instead.

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