Every once in a while I read an article that excites me from the very first phrase. This essay on the state of restaurant dishes, from the latest issue of Bon Appetit, is one such piece.   It expresses  the sense of frustration I sometimes feel when we visit a nice restaurant and have a hard time finding a meal that’s not overly rich.  And that includes the salads!  😉 These days the safest option for a meal out – if we want to still feel great 4 hours later –  is a Japanese restaurant.  But, enough complaining, this pasta typifies the cooking we like the most.  Light in fat, full of flavor, and quick to put together!


(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

Whole-wheat spaghetti (enough for two people)
1 cup red grape tomatoes
1 cup yellow grape tomatoes
1 Tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
zest and juice of 1 lemon
big bunch of baby spinach, coarsely chopped

Cut each tomato in half, place in a large bowl and add the olive oil, shaking the bowl to uniformly coat the tomatoes.  Spread them in a large baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, and roast at 420F for 25-30 minutes, until their skin starts to develop a brown color, and they release liquid.  Reserve.

Boil salted water to cook the pasta. When the pasta is almost ready, transfer the roasted tomatoes to a sautée pan on medium-high heat, making sure to include all the liquid released during roasting.   Add the spinach, squeeze the juice of the lemon all over, and cover the pan until the spinach starts to wilt.

Reserve some of the pasta cooking liquid, drain the pasta, and add it to the spinach and tomato mixture.  Cook everything together for a couple of minutes, if needed add some of the pasta cooking water. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, and right before serving add a very generous amount of lemon zest all over it.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  We absolutely loved this pasta!  The lemon zest is a key ingredient, don’t skip it.   You’ll notice I didn’t add any garlic, onions, or herbs.  This dish is all about the tomatoes and spinach, with the intense citric tone in the background.  Phil and I were talking the other day about how we prefer food prepared in a simpler way.  Of course, if I’m making a curry I will need to grab a good number of spices, it’s part of the deal…  But, we find something pleasing about allowing the ingredients to shine, rather than the spices.  In this case, to savor the tomatoes, the spinach and the pasta itself.

This dish was simultaneously satisfying and light.  Next day it made for a wonderful lunch, and I even confess to eating it cold from the refrigerator…   Impromptu Pasta Salad!

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