Monday, January 24, 2011


Which was also a super surprise.  We had been working outside part of the day.  Bringing in the wood from this pile for the stove (we had to dig it out of the snow in the blog  We do not heat just with wood heat.  It is just an auxiliary support system.  But I am spoiled by it (We used to heat only with wood).  I can maintain a 71 through the day with the stove and it feels so warm and cozy, but when I only use the electric heat at the same temp, I am running for a sweater.  

When we are working at heavy work all day the last thing I want to do is cook (cooking is one of my favorite things).  Searching through the cabinets and freezer for something quick I realized I had the gnawing hunger for pasta.  I normally make my own pasta but do have a supply of "store bought".  (Have you ever tried cooking pasta in the crock pot?  Works real good unless you like aldente pasta, then you have to watch it close.)  Pasta can be a very quick meal. 

Barilla pasta had a sale a couple of weeks ago and I bought several varieties that I had never tried.  I have favorite styles, one of which is Angel hair.  My least favorite is spaghetti.  There was this pasta called Campanelle.  A rolled noodle with a fluted edge  pasta (another favorite is scroodles).  I decided this would be the one I used tonight.

First I put the water up to boil and then diced a huge onion (I can't make any kind of pasta without onions in it.)  Put them on to saute' and went in search of what could make a sauce.  We love creamy sauces.  In the freezer I found a sandwich bag filled with chopped lambs quarters (we don't raise spinach anymore because we have all this free food growing on the compost piles and manure piles.)  I've never had spinach on pasta and never seen it done that way but thought I'd try.  The onions are sauteing in 3 tablespoons of butter and the water is at a boil, dumped in 8 ounces of pasta and some salt and proceeded to thaw the lambs quarters quickly in the microwave (not completely, just enough so I can break it up into small chunks. ) 

When the onions are nice and translucent I add 3 tablespoons of flour and make a roux of it.  I stir in one cup of water (you could add chicken broth if you have it handy).  I didn't have any prepared broth but I do have a product in the fridge called chicken base.  It works admirably as well.  When the roux starts to thicken I throw in the spinach (lambs quarters) and it thaws and adds more liquid to the pan.  If that isn't enough I add more water.  The pasta is done at this point and I drain it and stir on the sauce. 

Wow is all I can say, but I love creamed spinach.  It was like I had this huge serving of creamed spinach.   For serving I topped each plate with a fine grated boiled egg (that added protein).    The capanelle pasta was like having nice thick egg noodles.   It held all the sauce inside all the rolled edges.  I can see this also served with a chicken breast...or grilled shrimp.  We didn't put cheese on it but I know it would be grand. On this night it was great comfort food for two tired bodies that just wanted to veg out! (and it was ready in less than 20 minutes with minor effort).
Only 54 days to spring!