I'd like to share with you today yet another extremely easy and healthy pasta recipe. You'll love it: it takes only 20-25 minutes to make, it conveniently combines all four food groups in a single pot, and at about $1.75 per serving, it's laughably cheap too.
It's always a pleasure to find a simple, honest and dependable recipe like this. Dinner doesn't have to be so complicated all the time.
Greek Pasta with Spinach, Olives, Tomatoes and White Beans
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped coarsely
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
3 (14.5 ounce) cans plain diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 ounce) can small white beans, rinsed well and drained
1 cup olives, pitted (canned okay)
black pepper to taste
About 4-5 ounces (about 4 cups) fresh spinach
1 lb penne or other similar pasta
1/2 to 3/4 cup (3-4 ounces) crumbled or cubed feta cheese
1) Saute onion and garlic in olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes, until tender.
2) Add tomatoes, olives and beans, bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes while the pasta cooks.
3) Add the spinach to the sauce, combine well, and continue simmering for 1-2 minutes. Let spinach wilt a bit, but not too much.
4) Place cooked pasta into shallow plates or bowls, add sauce on top of the pasta. Crumble feta cheese on top.
Four brief recipe notes:
1) The prep time for this meal should be about 10 minutes, followed by cooking time of about 15 minutes. And to think people claim they don't have time to cook healthy, inexpensive food at home.
2) The nice thing about feta cheese, besides it's innate Greekishness, is that it's one of the more reasonably priced cheeses out there. However, if you don't like feta, you're in luck, because you can make an "extreme frugal" version of this dish--something befitting even the Frugal Fu blog--by leaving out the feta entirely. Doing this can get the recipe cost down as low as $1.20-$1.30 per serving.
3) There are a number of variations of this recipe floating around on the internet (incidentally, the last two of those three look suspiciously identical), but my recipe above is Casual Kitchen's official, scientifically tested version. Feel free to borrow and adapt it to your whims. It's fun to look over similar versions of the same recipe and think about which ones might taste better or worse, and why. This exercise can also be a great source of potential recipe modification ideas.
One final question: after taking a quick look at the the three recipes above, will someone please tell me where in the world you can find a 19-ounce can of beans?
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