Here’s a Silky Green Pasta to add to your cooking repertoire! We’ve all seen pasta made with vegetables become a different color. Variations on pasta, and gnocchi for that matter, come in many colors and flavors: beet, spinach, and carrots result in attractive pasta dishes, flavored and colored by the addition of these vegetables to the dough.
This green pasta, adapted from Simply Julia, the newest cookbook by Julia Turshen, is so intense in flavor and color, that any pasta becomes deeply enrobed in this velvety sauce with exquisite taste. Let’s be honest here, cooking pasta and dressing it with a green sauce is a lot less work than injecting vegetables inside the dough. It’s all in the sauce!
In the book, Julia tells the story of Llubav, an artist and mother who makes this recipe often on weeknights. It doesn’t require any chopping at all, and the sauce itself is so delicious, it can and should be used in other combinations, like risotto, or boiled potatoes. To honor the artist, she named the recipe Llubav ‘s Green Spaghetti. The name of the recipe is irresistible: Llubav. Is it Russian, Hebrew, or Croatian? As I made the recipe a few times for my family, we gradually ignored its original title and started calling it Silky Green Pasta. (Hope Llubav and Julia will be ok with this!)
Feel free to use the pasta of your preference. I used Orecchiette and it came out amazing. Once you’ve got your sauce and pasta cooked, you can prepare everything ahead of time and assemble it just before serving.
Julia’s work deserves much attention. Not only her cookbooks are an excellent source of delicious recipes (I have cooked many from her previous books) but Julia also has a big voice advocating for women, equity, and LBGTQ. She is the founder of Equity at the Table (EATT), an inclusive digital directory of women/non-binary individuals in food, and the host of keep Calm and Cook on.
I love following her videos on Instagram and her scrap notes (also seen on Instagram) reminds me of life before social media. Before computers. Before technology invaded our lives. A world in which a pan and paper still mattered. Coincidence or not, Julia’s recipes also remind me of that world, with the advantage of being practical, modern, simple, and delicious.
Silky Green Pasta
Inspired by Julia Turshen’s cookbook Simply Julia
1 lb pasta, preferably whole-wheat spaghetti or whatever pasta you like
5 oz baby fresh spinach
6 large leaves fresh kale (any type), tough stems discarded, torn into large pieces
1 large handful of fresh basil leaves (about 12 large leaves)
1 garlic clove, peeled
½ cup (50g) crumbled feta cheese, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons cream cheese
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Set a large pot of water to boil and salt it generously. Add the pasta to the pot and cook according to the package instructions.
Meanwhile, place the spinach, kale, basil, garlic, feta cheese, cream cheese, and olive oil in a blender and add 1 cup (250ml) of the boiling salted water from the pasta pot. Puree until smooth and season to taste with salt and pepper (it might need very little salt, depending on how salty your water is).
Drain the pasta in a colander and then return it to the now-empty pot. Add the green sauce and stir well to combine.
Serve immediately with extra crumbled feta cheese on top. Or if you’re like me, why not some Parmesan?
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