I made this pasta a while back and I didn’t post it because I wasn’t completely satisfied with the recipe. I haven’t made it since, but browsing through the photos reminded me that while this isn’t the perfect meal, I really love the concept of it. The recipe comes from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution – like all of J.O.’s recipes, it’s simple, pretty and tasty. Because it is a Food Revolution recipe, it is extra quick and easy to throw together and thrifty to boot. It’s not the healthiest of recipes, but I imagine it’s a gazillion times better for you than ordering fettucini alfredo at your nearest crap chain restaurant.
So why was I unsatisfied? I just felt like it was missing something. I think I will look at this as a base recipe that you can expand on in several different ways. You could roast cherry tomatoes and stir them in at the end. You could add more fresh herbs for a green flavour burst. You could spice it up with some fresh chili slices added at the same time as the rosemary. Or you could cook it as is (with extra garlic?) and eat it as a side to oven fried chicken for a night of comfort food.
In the thrifty department: we are going to start giving a rough calculation of the cost of our recipes, as often as possible. The cheapest per plate recipes can be found in our newest category, “Thrify”.
I figure the total cost of this meal is $15.57 (details below), yielding 4 servings (as a main), which makes the per plate cost $3.89. To reduce the cost further, look for Camembert on sale and find a cheap alternative to parmesan – Goya is an Argentinean parmesan that you can buy at Scarpone’s for a third the cost of Parmesan Reggiano.
1 8oz Camembert ($5)
2 garlic cloves, sliced ($.07)
1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed from stock (or other herbs, as desired) ($1)
extra virgin olive oil ($.50)
kosher or sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 pound dry shell pasta ($3)
6 cups chopped fresh spinach ($3)
4 oz grated Parmesan ($3)
1. Unwrap the Camembert, score a circle in the top of the skin and remove it like a lid. Lay the garlic slices on top of the cheese, sprinkle with pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Top with the rosemary, pushing the leaves into the oil.
2. Bake the Camembert in a small baking dish at 350F for 25 minutes – it should be golden and melted.
3. While the cheese is baking, cook the pasta in boiling water. When the pasta is done, add the spinach to the pot for about 10 seconds. Scoop a cup of cooking water out of the pot, then drain the pasta and spinach right away.
4. Return the pasta and spinach to the pot, letting the spinach wilt a little. Add a glug of olive oil and the Parmesan. If the sauce is too thick, loosen it with some cooking water. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Move the pasta into a serving dish and drizzle all of the melted Camembert on top.