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Thread: Review: Giada's Penne with Spinach Sauce

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Review: Giada's Penne with Spinach Sauce

    I saw her make this on Everyday Italian. It was delicious. We first had the truffled asparagus crostini. It was a green dinner. Next time will garnish with something red ;-)
    -Susan

    * Exported from MasterCook *

    Penne with Spinach Sauce

    Recipe By :Giada De Laurentiis
    Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
    Categories : Pasta Pasta Dishes

    Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
    -------- ------------ --------------------------------
    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


    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.

    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.

    Meanwhile, place the remaining spinach leaves in a large bowl.

    Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Spoon the pasta atop the spinach leaves in the bowl. 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



    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 272 Calories; 20g Fat (66.6% calories from fat); 18g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 60mg Cholesterol; 1797mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 2 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 2 1/2 Fat.


    Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
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  2. #2
    Thanks, this looks really good!

  3. #3
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    We tried this last night and thought it was delicious. A word of warning: there are three raw cloves of garlic in the sauce, so this recipe is for garlic lovers only! Thankfully, DH and I LOVE garlic (and goat cheese!), so this was right up our alley. Next time I would blend all of the spinach into the sauce instead of leaving some of the leaves to wilt with the pasta; I found their texture a little unappealing. But that is just a minor quibble--we really enjoyed it, especially for the amount of time & number of ingredients that went into the dish!
    Kristal


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  4. #4
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    I need to try this. I have everything I need in the refrigerator. BTW, I made the Penne with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto that she cooked on yesterday's show. It was delicious. DH (to be) loved it, probably because of all the fat!! I loved it but felt guilty eating it.

  5. #5
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    I wonder if subbing cream cheese for the goat cheese would work? I'm not a big fan of goat cheese but LOVE spinach and pasta.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rae
    I wonder if subbing cream cheese for the goat cheese would work? I'm not a big fan of goat cheese but LOVE spinach and pasta.
    The goat cheese is a pretty pronounced flavor in the sauce. I think you could substitute all cream cheese, but it might not be as flavorful since the goat cheese provides a nice tang to the dish. Maybe you could add a bit of bleu cheese or pecorino; something a little more assertive to give it some oomph.
    Kristal


    Saving just one dog won't change the world, but it surely will change the world for that one dog.

  7. #7
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    Yum, glad to know this one was good since I had marked it "to try" when I received Giada's Family Dinners. And thanks for the heads up on the garlic flavor, too Kristal! I love cooked garlic, but I only like small doses of raw garlic, so I will definitely be cutting back on that. I think I will puree all the spinach as well, too.
    "In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport."
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  8. #8
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    I'm having my sister and her DH over for dinner tonight and this is on the menu. Couple of question for you all that have made this - Is the consistency creamy or cheesy or both? Does anybody have suggestions as to a side or salad to serve with this? TIA!!!

  9. #9
    I made this last night for dinner and I served it with a green salad and some french bread. My DH raved about the recipe; it really is excellent and very easy. I did cut the garlic down to two cloves and it was perfect for us.
    I think it is more of a creamy sauce than a cheesy one and it nicely coats the pasta. I had to add very little of the pasta water (maybe 1/4 cup?). HTH

  10. #10
    We tried this tonight- I was pleased by how easy it was to make, but was a little disappointed by the flavor. I used a fairly mild goat cheese (Chavrie) and two cloves of garlic, and felt it was a bit bland. I think I would make it again, but experiment a bit with the seasoning, maybe adding some fresh herbs along with the spinach, and using a less mild cheese.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe, ssusan!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by fancyn
    I'm having my sister and her DH over for dinner tonight and this is on the menu. Couple of question for you all that have made this - Is the consistency creamy or cheesy or both? Does anybody have suggestions as to a side or salad to serve with this? TIA!!!
    Too late to help you, but I was thinking that when I make this, I will serve it with some kind of tomato salad (to add color to the meal). A caprese salad maybe, or maybe just one with greens, big sliced tomatoes, anchovies, and fresh herbs. I think it would also be good with a prosciutto and melon first course.
    "In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport."
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  12. #12
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    We had this Sunday night and we really enjoyed it. My DH added a piece of chicken to his pasta dish....being the meat eater that he is! I think it makes a lovely dinner...with a side tomato salad.

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the suggestions, I'll keep them in mind next time. This was a hit with us and our dinner guests. I thought everyone was exaggerating on the garlic. I used 4 huge cloves and it WAS very garlicy, almost spicy - and I loved it!!! I added no pasta water but it still coated nicely and I'll agree with Susan - a very green meal. I served roasted asparagus and a balsamic strawberry spinach salad, which complimented it well. Thanks for posting this!

  14. #14
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    I saw this recipe posted yesterday - I had a bunch of fresh spinach to use up so I was glad to come across it (thanks for posting it Susan!).

    I'm not a goat cheese fan, so I used feta. I also cut way down on the garlic (I only used one big clove and it was still WAY garlicky). It was a very nice, light dinner. The spinach flavor was very subtle, and I thought the color was really pretty If my hubby would have been eating with me, I probably would have added a piece of grilled chicken, but I liked it just the way it was.
    - Kiran

  15. #15
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    This looks great, but do you think I could leave out the cream cheese and just add extra goat cheese ? I'm not a big fan of cream cheese and I know if I bought it for the recipe, it would just end up going bad. Thanks!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by LttlMichey
    This looks great, but do you think I could leave out the cream cheese and just add extra goat cheese ? I'm not a big fan of cream cheese and I know if I bought it for the recipe, it would just end up going bad. Thanks!
    I don't see why not....I'm a huge goat cheese fan so I say go for it!! I forgot to mention in my previous post that i browned up some italian sausage links, sliced and tossed in. It paired well!

    ETA - I pureed all the spinach too!

  17. #17
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    Fun to see this thread. I purchased her new book and tried this recipe last weekend!

    I think leaving out the cream cheese wouldn't be a big deal at all. It might coat the pasta a bit differently but should be fine.

    I thought 3 raw garlic cloves was too much. I will reduce the garlic cloves next time and intend to use the entire 6 oz spinach bag in the puree. The slightly wilted leaves with the puree and pasta was an odd texure that I didn't really enjoy. I have to second Kristal on that one!

    This is a casual meal that would be good to cook during the week.

    Renee

  18. #18
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    I made this again tonight, but we had a side of sliced tomatoes with a touch of balsamic vinegar. Perfect for color and dipping the tomato into the spinach sauce on my plate was sublime.

    p.s. personally we do not find the garlic too strong.
    -Susan
    Last edited by ssusan; 05-10-2006 at 07:22 AM.
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  19. #19
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    From all the comments about the garlic being a bit too strong I think I'll roast the garlic to mellow it.

    Thanks for posting the recipe, I love goat cheese on pasta.

  20. #20
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    I made it last night, before I read all your suggestions. Needless to say, I have to keep my distance from my colleagues today, because I feel like I absolutely reek of garlic! Next time, 2 small cloves instead of 3 large ones! We really liked it, but as usual, DH said we could have sausages on the side and "it would be a real meal". ((sigh))

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  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Kristal
    We tried this last night and thought it was delicious. A word of warning: there are three raw cloves of garlic in the sauce, so this recipe is for garlic lovers only!
    Sounds like the perfect dessert would be Guy Fieri's Breath Mint Pie (had it last night, delish!).

    Thanks for posting the pasta recipe -- with the goat cheese and garlic, it sounds like a perfect dish I can hide some spinach in.
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  22. #22
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    This sounds like something I make often in the winter,usually adding green or black olives, but lighter and easier-- good for Me! Thanks for posting, it's already printed up.

  23. #23
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    For those who don't like goat cheese or cream cheese, you could certainly use ricotta. This recipe isn't any more than a contemporary twist on the classic combo of ricotta and spinach, so there's no reason you can't revert.

    Bob

  24. #24
    The LA Times printed this recipe a while ago in their Food section, and I followed their advise to omit the cream cheese and increase the goat cheese to 3 ounces.

    As others have mentioned, the garlic was a bit too much for my family, as much as we love garlic... I'm going to try it one more time when I have some extra spinach on hand, and add the garlic to the pasta water to mellow it out.

    So I guess I'd have to say this was a so-so recipe for my family.

  25. #25
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    We enjoyed this though a little heavy on the garlic.... I used Ronzoni whole wheat blend pasta & after looking at the box realized it was not a full pound, I'm thinking 13.75 oz or something. so maybe that's why it seemed a bit stronger than expected but still good.
    We have a decent amount leftover & I'm adding vegies to it. found the texture too plain. I will try some sauted mushrooms and maybe some asparagus. but I liked the basic sauce flavor & it couldn't be easier. So with a little adaptation I will be repeating this.
    "If the world were a logical place, men would ride side saddle." Rita Mae Brown

  26. #26
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    This looks great - but how many servings is it?

  27. #27
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    I'd say 4 adult servings, especially if some additional vegies are added. I usually figure 4 oz pasta per person for a main, if there's something else with it. We had a large salad too.
    "If the world were a logical place, men would ride side saddle." Rita Mae Brown

  28. #28
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    Susan, thanks for bringing this recipe to our attention. I made it tonight and really liked it.
    Some of the posters suggested pureeing all of the spinach, which I did. I used three large cloves of garlic (my family likes garlic, so no problem there).
    I didn't have any goat cheese on hand, so I used some fat-free feta.
    In my opinion, it tasted like pesto, which is a good thing. What a great way to get spinach into the DH. (My DSs like spinach. It is my DH who is a "green veggie phobe").

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kristal
    We tried this last night and thought it was delicious. A word of warning: there are three raw cloves of garlic in the sauce, so this recipe is for garlic lovers only! Thankfully, DH and I LOVE garlic (and goat cheese!), so this was right up our alley. Next time I would blend all of the spinach into the sauce instead of leaving some of the leaves to wilt with the pasta; I found their texture a little unappealing. But that is just a minor quibble--we really enjoyed it, especially for the amount of time & number of ingredients that went into the dish!
    Of course, I USUALLY look for reviews BEFORE I make a recipe ...since we love garlic, I used 4 cloves...oh my

    Otherwise we loved it! Next time I will reduce the garlic to 1 or 2...although the leftovers were a bit milder...I used Barilla penne and loved how the pasta was coated!

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    If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show or any good thing I can do any fellow being, let me do it now and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again."
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  30. #30
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    Just a suggestion regarding the raw garlic - try popping the cloves into the boiling water when you add the penne to cook, then drain the pasta, fish the garlic out and chop them. This takes the raw edge off of them. I do this all the time when I'm making garlic mashed potatoes, just boiling the garlic with the potatoes until they're done and mashing them all together.

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