This is a recipe that came together as a result of what had become a very frustrating week in regards to groceries. Do you ever have those weeks where you feel like you spent a fortune at the store, and still there is nothing in the house to eat? I'm usually a pretty careful planner, and thrifty too, but this week I splurged on some local meat and produce from a nearby delivery service. Though I had high hopes for this service (which I won't name since this is my only run-in with them so far) the quality and quantity sort of left me cold. I'd planned to stretch a lot of it into multiple meals, but due to the small size and short shelf life of a few key items, it just didn't work out that way. Bah!
Annoyed, I reshuffled my ingredients to salvage a meal for the night, only to stumble upon what might become a favorite recipe. The Pesto I made earlier in the week was the inspiration for this dish. I was also excited about experimenting with Queso Fresco. Since it doesn't melt too quickly, I thought it might be a great candidate for a sauteed pasta dish. It clumped up a little here and there, but overall it did a good job of remaining intact despite the heat. Plus, its mild taste matches the zesty pesto really well. The key to waking up the flavor in this recipe, however, is adding a dash of salt and fresh ground pepper at the end. You could even sprinkle a little crushed red pepper into the mix, if you'd like a little extra zip.
- 8 ounces penne pasta, cooked al dente, shocked, and set aside
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 heaping tablespoons Pumpkin Seed Pesto or jarred pesto
- 1 small onion, small dice
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered (or halved, depending on size)
- 8 ounces baby spinach
- 4 ounces queso fresco, small dice
- salt & pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil over medium in a large, deep skillet. Add the onions and pesto, and cook until onions begin to clear. Add the first two thirds of the spinach a handful at a time, adding more as it cooks down. When you add the last of the spinach, also add the tomatoes and cheese. Add the pasta to the pan, warming it as the spinach finishes cooking. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.