I can't really remember how this recipe evolved. There was probably an over-abundance of spinach, a tub of crème fraîche, and not much else in the fridge. Mixing them together and tipping over pasta seemed a good plan for supper. My instincts were right and it has become a fairly standard fixture in my weekday supper repertoire. It's easy to scale down for one person, but if you're going to make it for more than three, you'll need a very large pan, perhaps a wok, to cope with the quantity of spinach.
Over the years I've not been able to resist fiddling around with it. I've tried it with garlic, white wine, even mushrooms, but I've always come back to this version. It just doesn't need anything else.
Ingrediments for two
- Pasta sufficient for two people — so that's probably between 150 and 200g (5-7oz); I prefer spaghetti or linguine
- Splash of olive oil
- Half an onion, finely sliced
- 150g (5oz) fresh spinach — remove any tough stems and if the leaves are particularly large, they might need to be torn in half or thirds
- 100-150ml (3-5floz) crème fraîche
- salt and pepper
- a grating of nutmeg
Set the water for your pasta to boil. I use the largest pan I own, lots of water, a sprinkling of salt, and a splash of oil then I cook the pasta until it is al dente. Your method may vary, but this is how my mother taught me and I don't dispute her pasta-cooking wisdom.
Heat a splash of olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion over a gentle flame until soft and golden.
By now, your water should be boiling. So add the pasta and cook according to packet instructions, or howsoever your pasta-cooking guru taught you.
Toss the spinach into the frying pan with the onions and allow it to wilt. This will take a matter of minutes, but if you have a lot of spinach in the pan, be sure to stir it to ensure that all the leaves collapse without those on the bottom of the pan going soggy.
Stir the crème fraîche into the spinach and season to taste with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Allow the crème fraîche to melt and thicken slightly in the heat of the pan.
As soon as the pasta is ready, remove it from the heat and drain it well. If there is room in the pan containing the spinach and crème fraîche, tip it in there to mix. If not, return the pasta to the pan in which it was cooked and tip over the spinach-crème fraîche sauce. Mix it thoroughly and season with some more black pepper.
Ehm, that's about it. So maybe eat, with a glass of wine if you so fancy.
Music to cook to: Sunshine Hit Me, The Bees