My husband’s culinary skills begin and end with making a great pot of coffee. With that in mind, I’ve created a simple Mother’s Day dinner recipe that even a non-cook can successfully follow. Preparing a meal is one of the best ways to show someone you love them. After all, the origin of Mother’s Day is rooted in a daughter’s love and respect for her mother.
In 1905, after her mother’s death, Anna M. Jarvis began a campaign to recognize her mother’s work as a community activist and peace advocate, and to honor her memory. It took several years, but in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill recognizing Mother’s Day as a national holiday. The House of Representatives also adopted a resolution recommending that officials of the federal government wear white carnations on Mother’s Day.
Here’s a simple recipe for Pasta With Spinach. The step-by-step directions will ensure a successful result for even the most unskilled cook, and create the perfect meal for the Moms we love.
BEGINNER’S PASTA WITH SPINACH
8 ounces angel hair pasta
1 gallon cold water
4 teaspoons salt (for water)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can (14.5-ounce) diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning spice
1 package (10-ounce) prewashed baby spinach
1/2 cup sour cream or feta cheese
2 tablespoons prepared basil pesto
TO COOK THE PASTA:
- Fill a large, tall stockpot with the water, turn heat to high and bring water to a boil.
- When water begins to boil, add the salt. (Adding the salt to the water now is necessary because it’s the time when the pasta absorbs it best. Do not add oil of any kind. Oil will coat the pasta, and the sauce will not stick.)
- Hold the pasta vertically over the boiling water and carefully slide it into the pot. Lower the heat to medium so the pasta water doesn’t foam up and boil over the sides. As the pasta begins to soften, use a long fork or wooden spoon to push the pasta into the water until it’s submerged.
- Turn the heat back up to high. Stir the pasta to keep it from clumping together. Stir every few minutes as needed to keep the pasta separated.
- After 6 to 8 minutes, use the fork or spoon to pull out a piece of pasta. Taste it to see if it is soft, not raw or starchy-tasting. The pasta is done when it is “al dente,” which is Italian for “when it is right for the tooth,” and refers to the correct cooking point of pasta. If the pasta isn’t done, let it continue to cook another 2 or 3 minutes until it’s soft but firm — not mushy or overcooked.
- Fill a coffee cup with some of the pasta water and set it aside to use when making the sauce.
- Place a large colander in the sink. Using potholders to protect your hands, carefully move the pot to the sink. Carefully drain the pasta into the colander.
- Pick up the colander with the potholders and shake it well to remove any excess water from the pasta. Do NOT rinse the pasta.
- Place the drained pasta back into the large pot and start making the sauce.
TO MAKE THE SAUCE:
- Using a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, melt the butter and add the olive oil. Add the tomatoes, Italian seasoning and spinach, a few handfuls at a time, and stir to combine.
- When the spinach begins to wilt, stir in the sour cream or feta cheese and the pesto.
- Pour the sauce into the large pot containing the drained pasta. Turn the heat to low.
- Mix the sauce and the pasta together until well-combined.
- Use a 1 or 2 tablespoons of the pasta water to thin out the sauce, as needed.
- Place the finished pasta in a large bowl and serve immediately with garlic bread or rolls. Serves 6.
Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian and the author of seven cookbooks. Her new cookbook is “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook.” Her website is www.divapro.com. To see how-to videos, recipes and much, much more, Like Angela Shelf Medearis, The Kitchen Diva! on Facebook. Recipes may not be reprinted without permission from Angela Shelf Medearis.
© 2021 King Features Synd., Inc., and Angela Shelf Medearis