The scent in the air after a fresh rainfall. Lilac flowers flowering in the parks. Bare legs out in the open? Spring must be here. And with spring weather comes spring produce. Hello fiddleheads, snap peas, asparagus and morels! Because I was so inspired by the weather, I had decided to celebrate with a springtime pasta: creamy spinach and green bean tortiglioni.
After a busy weekend of teaching, working and spending time with my out-of-town family, I was sort of regretting scheduling such a late (10:00pm!!!) livestream. Luckily, I had thought out a dish that was going to be simple and easy: pasta.
Pasta is probably one of my go-tos and I tend to make a pasta dish of some sort atleast once every two weeks because…life. It’s stupid simple, ultimately diverse and keeps for a number of days. My equation for a quick weeknight pasta dish would consist of 1) pasta, 2) a chockfull of vegetables and 3) some type of sauce. Having a formula such as this ensures balance, nutrition and flavour that is uncompromised – plus, the interchangeability makes for an unending loop of endless possibilities.
I always tend to rotate my vegetables and produce out depending on seasonality and what is on sale. Green beans were on blow out at my local grocery store and I knew I wanted some type of leafy green or herb that would cook in a flash. I had a wheel of leftover Boursin and milk that needed to be used up so that alone provided me with a great basis for a creamy sauce.
Unfortunately, finding the right pasta was a challenge for me. I had my heart set out on a nice strozzapreti which is a long, cylindrical pasta, slightly convoluted and perfectly for catching all that wonderful creamy sauce. I had visited three different grocery stores and was unsuccessful in finding strozzapreti. In the end, I opted for a tortiglioni – still a great candidate for the sauce I had prepared with its ridged edges.
All in all, my creamy spinach and green bean tortiglioni, tinted with a bit of grated lemon zest and a lot of freshly ground black pepper helped me kick all of those mac ‘n cheese cravings I’ve been having lately. And believe it or not, it got even better the next day! Yum.
CREAMY SPINACH & GREEN BEAN TORTIGLIONI – serves 6 – 8
1 (500g) pkg tortiglioni
1 lb green beans, trimmed and halved
1 bunch spinach, cut into thirds
¼ cup butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 (150g) Boursin Garlic & Fine Herbs
1 cup pasta water
pinch ground cloves or nutmeg
½ tsp kosher salt
freshly ground pepper (lots!)
zest of 1 lemon
Cook pasta until al dente in a pot of heavily salted boiling water. During the last minute of cooking, blanche the green beans in the pot with the pasta. Set aside 1 cup of pasta water. Drain and set aside.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat and slowly whisk in the flour until a paste forms. Lightly toast the paste and slowly dribble in the milk and continue whisking until the béchamel thickens. Add salt, Boursin and pasta water. Sauce should be thick and glossy.
In a large serving bowl, add in the spinach. Add the hot pasta and cheese sauce. Grate the lemon and add in the freshly ground black pepper. Mix to combine. Serve hot and with a crisp glass of Chardonnay.