Back in the States, I was very much an eat dinner around 7ish type of person. In high school I ate dinner with my family just about every night around the table (or counter I should really say) and in New York, I would either make a meal for myself or to share with my roommates. In Paris, I’ve found that eating anytime before 8 seems to be quite taboo. I walked into a pizza place on one of my first days in Paris around 7:15 and they said it was too early to order. How crazy is that? I guess eating later goes in line with the whole mentality of taking a much longer and enjoyable lunch here, so you’re satiated until an 8 o’clock dinner.
Trying to be the best Parisian I can while I’m here, I find that I’m falling into this pattern of eating later myself. Last night, after having a lunch around 1:00, I looked at my clock and saw that it was already 8:15 and I had yet to start making anything to eat. I had bought these tomatoes earlier in the week and didn’t want them to go bad, so even though it was late, I was still hungry and this was an easy, yet very delicious recipe to whip up in about 20 minutes. By 8:45 I was back at my computer watching some Breaking Bad. (Side note – everyone needs to watch this show. It’s so good!)
Cooking for myself if often challenging, which is why I love to bake, as baked goods are easy to transport the following day to give as gifts. Last year I at least had the option of giving my leftovers to my roommates. Now that I’m all by myself, I try to remember that whatever I’m going to make I’m probably going to have to eat for 3 or 4 days depending on how big the servings are. I guess in theory the answer to all this would be to make food in smaller quantities, but sometimes it’s easier to just use a whole onion or a whole pack of spinach instead of having small amounts of these ingredients left over, which I often find go bad before I get the chance to use again.
This is really simple pasta dish that I will not mind having in my fridge for a few days. I’ve been on a soy kick lately, as I was trying to limit my dairy intake a few weeks ago when I was feeling sick, so instead of half & half, I used soy and some ermante cheese I had in my fridge. I did notice that my cheese tended to clump up a bit, so using parmesan cheese (and possibly cows milk) the cheese mixture might combine with the pasta a little better. Cooked spinach is so delicious, especially when you add cheese. I still have some leftover, but it’s mostly pasta now, as I ate most of the spinach last night 😉 In the end, the leftovers somehow always manage to get eaten, but I can’t wait to have roommates again next year to eat it fresh!
Creamy Spinach & Tomato Pasta
- 3/4 lb. whole wheat pasta (I used penne)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 (5 oz) package baby spinach
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth broth
- 1/4 cup milk, half & half or soy milk
- 1 oz. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/2 tsp. ground pepper
- 1 (8 oz) container grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 1 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1) Cook pasta according to package directions.
2) While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add your sliced shallot; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes or until translucent.
3) Add spinach and broth; cover and cook for 1 minute.
4) Add milk, 3/4 of the Parmesan cheese and the black pepper. Stir to combine; cook for 3 minutes and remove from heat.
5) Combine spinach mixture, pasta and tomatoes in large bowl. Garnish with parsley and remaining cheese.
6) Enjoy 🙂