Does one pappardelle dinner mean I’m cooking again?

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I’m afraid to look at how long it’s been since I posted a recipe. (And it would be so easy, what with that giant tag cloud and that category I named, oh, ‘recipes.’)  But I will refrain from feeling badly, and instead post about the fact that I actually cooked ONE, count-it, ONE dinner last week.

And it was pretty good, so I’m posting it here.

Cooking Light’s April 2011 issue had a ‘Spring Pasta’ feature, and I bought ingredients to make two of the dishes.  Sadly, I had to throw out one set of ingredients as the veggies wilted — what on earth was I thinking buying ingredients for TWO dishes when I haven’t cooked in weeks months rather a long time?

But I did manage to make a dish that was GREAT for leftovers for lunch – and was pretty easy to prepare.  And while I won’t rave about the recipe as is, with a few easy tweaks, I bet it could be terrific.

Plus, with it’s mild creamy sauce (that’s not cream based!) I bet even my son will like it.  Though lying would be required: I’d have to dice the spinach and tell him the green stuff is herbs…which is TRUE – there’s parsley and dill!  Such a slippery slope.  Let’s hope he doesn’t choose today to start reading my blog!

So here it is:  Pappardelle with Baby Spinach, Herbs and Ricotta from page 118 of the Cooking Light April 2011 issue.  And here’s what I’ll change the next time I prepare this dish (click here for PDF of this recipe with my adjustments):

  • Make sure you chop (or dice!) the baby spinach – the picture in the magazine shows it chopped but the recipe doesn’t include that key step.  Start there.
  • 3 cups of baby spinach is too much, even for me, who loves spinach.  I’d cut this roughly in half.
  • I really do not love dill, so would consider leaving it out.  Though the dill does deliver that fabulous oh-so-fresh herb aroma and taste – will have to think on this.  If you like dill, great.  If not, maybe cut the amount in half.
  • Too many big peppercorns for me.  Either I’ll reduce the fresh pepper OR (probably more likely) adjust my pepper mill for a finer grind.
  • One idea (note:  I have no idea if it’ll work as I’m not a chef): if you don’t love the gritty feel of raw spinach, consider steaming the chopped spinach for just a bit – maybe 30 seconds or a minute in the microwave.
  • An alternate and probably better idea for the spinach that was  suggested in the recipe reviews (I reviewed it too) was to put the spinach in the colander and the run the hot pasta water over it – that, I think, is brilliant!  Will totally try that!
  • Another reviewer suggested arugula instead of spinach.   Which of course, I had just purchased (and tossed) as the key ingredient for that other recipe…  Sigh.

So think about giving this recipe a try.  I will be heading to Trader Joe’s to buy  more pappardelle to make this again, with these adjustments.  Let’s hope I can muster the motivation to make it before the spinach (or arugula) liquefies… again.

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