Out of our four children, our oldest is the least picky. In our house, that is saying a lot, for none of our kids are truly picky. Having the “no thank you” serving really has helped with that. However, if I had to choose one that I could offer almost any food and expect that it should be liked, it would have to be our 15 year old.
He always has been a fairly adventurous eater. As a toddler he requested pasta, like all toddlers, but he liked it best with spinach sauce. While a little face covered with green can be messy, it always was a thrill to know that he enjoyed healthy foods. When I originally made this sauce, I used a recipe that I had found in a cookbook. With time I began to change it into my own. The most recent version was the quite simplistic.
This recipe has three key ingredients: spinach, garlic, and parmesan cheese. Whether you choose to add other ingredients is your decision. Personally, I enjoy it without any oil added to the purée, as I think those three ingredients deliver all of the flavor I need. For others, the unctuous nature of olive oil may improve the sauce. If you prefer more zip, you could add some red pepper flakes or shallots.
Whether you’re making it for your toddler or your spouse, expect to find your dining companion pleased. Of course, if you’re making it for your 10 year old who despises spinach, then it might be time to institute the “no thank you” serving. Perhaps a little taste will convince him or her that spinach can be tasty.
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 lb. fresh spinach, stems removed*
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
cooked pasta of your choice
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add spinach and sauté for 2 minutes, or until spinach is wilted. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Transfer spinach (including liquid) to a food processor or blender. Add cheese and blend until smooth.
Top hot, cooked pasta with spinach sauce and serve immediately.
*A 10-ounce package of frozen spinach can be used in place of fresh. If using frozen, do not drain. You will need that liquid to help make the sauce.