10 April 2011

date, nut and spinach pasta

A package of dried dates has been hibernating in our refrigerator for several months.The sticky mixture are tasty enough, but they probably remain untouched just because there is too much work involved in pulling them apart to eat.With spring now here, it seems like a good time to bring the dates out of deep sleep. This recipe delights the senses with a savory interplay of sweetness, nuttiness, and pungent earthiness.

10 cups spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
8 oz feta cheese, crumbled (sun-dried tomato & basil seasoning added)
1/2 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
1/3 cup olivie oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 lb fettuccine
salt &  black pepper

For the breadcrumbs:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, sliced
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs

3 Spinach, fontina & roasted garlic chicken sausages, sliced (Trader Joe's)

Toast walnuts by heating in oil-free skillet until browned. Next, prepare the garlic breadcrumbs: Heat oil over medium heat and cook garlic slices for 30 seconds, then remove. Add breadcrumbs and cook, stirring until browned.

If adding the sausage, saute slices in olive oil until browned. When cooled, add to spinach mixture below.

In a large bowl, combine spinach, feta, dates and walnuts; set aside. In a smaller bowl, whisk together oil and lemon juice. Drizzle over spinach mix and toss to coat evenly. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente. Drain and return to the pot. Add the spinach mixture to pasta and toss to combine well. Plate pasta and sprinkle each plate with the toasted breadcrumbs.

Serve with mushroom “soufflettes” (M&M Meat Shop).

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