The no groceries dinner

blogff0349.JPGThought you were going on vacation and just as you were about to get in the car, your son breaks his foot? I hate when that happens. So anyways, for the first time in my life, I had actually planned for vacation coming, and was determined to leave without a fridge full of groceries to rot while I was away. I had half a bag of spinach left. Get the noodles (about 1/2 lb. for two or three people, or double the whole recipe) going in salted, boiling water, and use a good brand. You might fight me on it, but I like De Cecco. Let it cook until it is al dente, still the faintest whisper of a white line in the middle when you bite into a piece. Drain well and reserve about 3 tablespoons of the cooking water in a cup. Dry out the pasta pot. Give it a spill of olive oil and add three to four finely slivered cloves of garlic. When they are golden, rip in some fresh thyme from one sprig, or a few basil leaves, or mint leaves or even marjoram or parsley (or nothing; I had nothing). If you have the patience, shallot, cooked til golden is really good as well, or forget the shallot and add the prewashed baby spinach leaves with a good pinch of salt, a few red pepper flakes, and a grind of black pepper. Add a handful of pine nuts and (if the people permit) a handful of currants. Toss it all together with about 1/2 cup of coarsly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, separating the cooked spinach leaves so that they are evenly distributed, and adding a little of the pasta water if you need it. Taste for salt and serve with more cheese on the side. Look happy.

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