13 Mar Raid the fridge recipe: Leafy green pasta
Our guest blogger this week is frugal food writer, Malou Herkes, sharing her delicious back-of-fridge dinner for pasta and seasonal greens
When I have nothing but a few leafy greens at home, my fall-back dinner is always green pasta. Think, cavolo nero, purple sprouting broccoli, chard, kale, dark cabbage, beet tops, spinach. The great thing about these leafy things, is they’re more or less adaptable to whatever recipe you’re making, whatever the season. Torn into soups, stews, curries and broths, finely shredded into salads, steamed and eaten with fish…. I could go on.
Which is where green pasta comes in. All you need are a few store cupboard staples – pasta, a clove of garlic, good olive oil and sea salt – and 12 minutes of your time, for the most simple, but delicious expression of pasta I can think of.
The greens and garlic are cooked until tender, then whizzed up with a good pour of olive oil and sea salt until you get a vibrantly green kinda pesto and you want to eat it with a spoon. Tossed together with hot pasta, it’s a glistening, bright, tasty dinner.
My waste-saving top tips
Cook the greens in a pan of boiling water, then remove and tip in the pasta – this is a satisfying way to make double use of the same cooking water.
If you have extra greens that need using, blitz up a double batch of your green pesto, then use it over the following days, tossed through new potatoes or hot gnocchi or spread on hot toasts with ricotta or a grating of cheese.
For extra flavour, serve with grated Parmesan or another hard cheese, if you have any.
Leafy green pasta
250g leafy greens, such as cavolo nero, purple sprouting broccoli, chard, kale, dark cabbage
1 clove of garlic
extra virgin olive oil
optional: Parmesan or other hard cheese
Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Trim the greens and peel the garlic, then add both to the boiling water. Cook until tender. If using broccoli, cook it until you can easily pierce it with a knife.
Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the greens and garlic to a food processor. Bring the water back to the boil, add salt, then tip in the pasta. Cook until al dente.
Meanwhile, add roughly 2 tablespoons of oil and a pinch of sea salt to the greens, then blitz well until you get a smooth, silky sauce. Add more oil to loosen if needed or more salt to taste.
Reserving a cupful of the cooking water, drain the pasta, then return it to the hot pan. Spoon in the blitzed greens and toss to coat, adding splashes of the cooking water to loosen, if needed. Finely grate in some cheese if you have any, and toss through again. Serve straightaway with a drizzle of oil and a final grating of cheese, if you like.