Giada's Penne with Spinach Sauce

After being married for 3 1/2 years, I made the conscious decision to ship my food processor (which we received as a wedding gift) over to Germany. Honestly I don't know how I've gone so long without it! We have a Cuisinart model, and while it's frustrating that it's not dual voltage, it's a small price to pay. I was watching Everyday Italian with my mom a few years ago, and I really wanted to give it a try. I love spinach and goat cheese, plus it's really pretty healthy. Only catch-this recipe requires a food processor, and I wasn't about to stuff half a bag of spinach leaves into my blender and hope for the best. Overall, I was really happy with it. The only complaint I have about many of Giada's recipes is that many of them are very bland. She doesn't use a lot of garlic (hello????? This ragazza was born in Rome!) and I usually add a couple extra cloves of garlic to most of her recipes. Also, this one just seemed a little lacking in flavor, so I added 1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes, and received a very enthusiastic approval from Will. But it was very quick and easy, the perfect weeknight dish.
Source: Food Network


  • 1 pound whole wheat or multi grain penne
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 ounce reduced fat cream cheese
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the penne and cook until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes.
2. Mince the garlic in a food processor. Add the goat cheese, cream cheese, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and half of the spinach leaves. Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Set the cheese and spinach mixture aside.
3. Meanwhile, place the remaining spinach leaves in a large bowl.
4. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Spoon the pasta atop the spinach leaves in the bowl. 5. Scrape the cheese and spinach mixture over the pasta mixture and toss to coat, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the Parmesan over and serve.


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