This is almost a one-pot meal, which I love for summertime. The second pot just comes in to cook up the pasta; the fewer burners on, the better! This is a great base pasta and you can add anything you like depending on your tastes (or whatever is leftover in your fridge on a Saturday afternoon!).
Lemon-Caper Pasta // Serves 4
8oz uncooked penne or other shorter, sturdy variety (I used whole wheat)
1 T olive oil
5-6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 - 15oz can white beans (Cannellini or Great Northern), rinsed & drained
1 - 10oz bag baby spinach, or a fresh bunch from the market!
1.5 T drained capers, roughly chopped
1 T lemon zest, from about 2 lemons
Juice of 1 lemon or to taste
Salt & fresh-cracked pepper
Optional mix-ins/substitutions: sun dried or grape tomatoes, olives, kale, feta
Bring a large pot of water to boil and generously salt just before adding pasta; cook according to package directions. Before draining, scoop out a 1/2 cup of the cooking water and reserve; drain pasta.
Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and shallots and cook until garlic is browned and onions begin to soften, 2-3 minutes. While cooking, remove any unwanted stems and clean spinach if needed. Add in the beans and a 1/4 c of the reserved water, stirring to heat through. Add in all of the spinach (this is where that large, deep skillet comes in handy!), sprinkle with salt (I used a nice Applewood smoked salt) and use tongs to toss all the ingredients together continuously, until the spinach is just wilted. Add the pasta, capers, zest, lemon juice, and pepper (and any of your own additions). Toss to combine and taste for seasoning. Shave fresh parmesan over top, using a vegetable peeler for nice, wide pieces.
This pasta is really simple, but I love the combination of fresh lemon, salty capers, and tangy parm for an easy weeknight meal. We had some leftover cooked chicken in the fridge so I added that in with the pasta and it just added an extra dose of protein, which the husband always prefers! Try it tonight using your families favorite flavors and whatever fun herbs or veggies you might have hanging out in the fridge.
With a full heart and an empty plate,