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Pasta with Spinach Sauce

This is one of the best Italian pasta recipes because it is light, healthy, delicious and cooks up in minutes. This recipe is ideal is you are cooking pasta for a crowd. Simple pasta recipes make for the tastiest pasta recipes, as this recipe shows.


The greens are cooked with the pasta in this dish. Allow at least a gallon of water to a pound of pasta, because you need a large pot to accommodate the greens and because, if there is too little water, the addition of the greens will slow the cooking too rapidly. Add tender greens like spinach when the pasta is about done. The added cooking time will be only 30 seconds or so. Add tough greens, like kale or collards - or vegetables like broccoli florets - a minute or two before the pasta seems finished, so that the greens have enough time to become tender.

Variations: Toss the pasta with freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese to taste. In addition to or instead of the olives, use chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil (about a quarter cup), drained capers (about 2 tablespoons), or toasted bread crumbs (about a half cup). Use other greens, as long as they will cook quickly. Try chopped leaves of kale, collards, Swiss chard, turnip or mustard greens, or bite-size florets of broccoli. Use Asian noodles, and substitute a quarter cup peanut oil plus one tablespoon sesame oil for the olive oil. Add soy sauce to the hot pepper and garlic, omit the olives, and add a few lightly toasted sesame seeds.


  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 15 calamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1 pound spinach, washed with tough stems removed and roughly chopped
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and salt it.
  2. Meanwhile, mince the garlic as finely as possible and combine it in the bottom of a warm bowl with the red pepper flakes, olives and olive oil.
  3. Place the pasta in the pot, and cook until it is nearly done. Test it for doneness by tasting.
  4. Plunge the spinach into the water, and cook until it wilts, less than a minute. Drain quickly, allowing some water to cling to the pasta, and toss pasta and spinach in the bowl with salt and pepper and serve.

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I appreciate the extensive note section at the end of this recipe since I love spinach but have to watch how much I consume because it hampers a couple of the medications I'm taking. The suggestion of using bite sized broccoli florets is one I definitely will try. My wife is growing some malabar spinach which apparently has a different taste than spinach but doesn't interact with my meds the way regular spinach does, so I'm looking forward to giving that a try.


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