Parmesan and Spinach Penne Pasta is the ultimate creamy pasta lovers dream! Loaded with parmesan and heavy cream, this pasta is a delightful, non-apologetic dish that provides so much comfort food happiness!
Yes, I know, I’m posting another pasta recipe, but in my defence, this one is very different – it’s got penne, spinach, and lots of parmesan! I’m such a sucker for pasta; everyone close to me knows that I love to eat pasta, but more importantly, I can cook pasta extremely well! I’m not just saying that; it’s true! I think I’m an old Italian momma on the inside. 🙂
Personally, I think people are afraid to properly cook pasta. In most of my experiences with eating pasta dishes that were not cooked at home, the pasta noodle itself is almost always over cooked. I refuse to overcook pasta, and if in the off chance I do, my world comes crumbling down around me. Seriously, Dear Reader! Pasta has the be the easiest thing to cook, and I already can’t properly cook rice, so I can’t add another basic item to the list.
Yes, I cannot cook rice. It’s a fail every single time. But, that’s a story for another time. When cooking pasta, always – and, I mean always – cook the pasta for a minute or two less that what is recommended on the package. And, never be tempted to cook it just a little bit more. Properly cooked pasta will have a little bite left to it. It’s not like the days of eating Kraft Dinner in you college years when the noodles were so overcooked that they collapsed. Remember eating that particular mac and cheese that you didn’t need to chew? You know what I’m talking about!
Way back in the day – I say that, even though it’s only been a few years ago – an Italian told me that I make pasta just like an authentic Italian. That is something I’ve never forgotten. And, the secret is not the sauce, it’s how you cook the pasta. Here are my steadfast pasta cooking rules:
Do not add oil to the water. They say to do it so the pasta doesn’t stick. That’s so wrong and so not right! Once you put the pasta into the water, give it a good stir. This will ensure the pasta doesn’t stick together. Secondly, add lots of salt. I’m serious – pasta needs salty water. I always add a good heaping teaspoon of salt to my pasta water. It’s the only chance you’ll have to actually season the noodle, so don’t be afraid to salt accordingly. And, lastly do not overcook. Pasta will continue to cook a little bit even after you’ve drained the pasta water away. And, it will also continue to cook when you toss it with the sauce.
Ok, fast forward to present day. I’m living with John.e. And, I hear it all of the time. He constantly praises my pasta dishes. And, if there’s ever a time when I’m not happy with the end result of a pasta recipe, he very quickly blames it on the brand of pasta. (Maybe he’s being really sincere, or maybe he just wants me to keep cooking pasta so that I’m less tempted to start cooking more non-vegetarian dishes! Who knows!? Either way, I’ll take the compliment!)
This particular pasta dish is inexpensive and quick to pull together. I love that it’s loaded with so much spinach, and the saltiness of the parmesan and the butter carries throughout the dish so well. And, well, how can one go wrong with cheese, butter, and cream? It’s really not possible, now is it!? I’m glad you agree. Let’s get to the recipe; enough waiting around.
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Parmesan and Spinach Penne Pasta
- 500 grams penne pasta, cooked
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 8-10 cups fresh spinach, washed and dried
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- 2 cups half and half 5% cream
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Start by heating the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the onions, salt, and pepper, and sauté until lightly browned and then add the minced garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Next, add the spinach, 2 or 3 cups at a time, and completely wilt it.
- Pour in the half and half, add the parmesan cheese, and lower the heat. Continue to cook the sauce until the cream has thickened slightly.
- Finally, add the cooked, drained pasta to the sauté pan and toss to coat.
- Serve immediately and garnish with more parmesan cheese.
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