spinach and caramelized onions over whole wheat pasta

This probably started as a recipe from somewhere, but it’s now just one of my own that I love to throw together.  The great thing about it is that the ingredients are flexible – you can add whatever you want in whatever quantity, depending on what’s in your fridge and what you feel like eating.  My versions usually end up heavy on the garlic and onions.  Cheese would also probably be great, but since I never keep any in the house (I can exhibit no self control when cheese is present), I don’t include it in the list of ingredients.

How would you tweak this recipe?

  • Enough oil or butter to caramelize the onions, usually 1 to 2 tablespoons
  • Half to a whole onion, cut into long thing strips
  • Garlic to your taste, 1-4 cloves chopped
  • Half a dozen to a dozen olives, chopped
  • Several handfuls of spinach, at least 1/4 pound
  • A single serving or more of whole wheat pasta, whatever shape you prefer (I love spaghetti and angel hair, so that’s what I always end up using)
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  1. Melt butter/heat oil over a medium to low heat.  Add onions and caramelize, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes.  Don’t cook too high or too fast, because you really want the sweet taste
  2. Add garlic and stir, for a minute or 2
  3. Add spinach into pan.  It looks like a lot, but it will reduce down quite a bit, so keep throwing it in there.
  4. When spinach is wilted, add olives and cook 2-3 minutes
  5. Add red pepper flakes and cook 2-3 minutes more
  6. Serve over whole wheat pasta

On a side note, have I ever posted my awesome plates here?  My mom found them in China town in New York and Japan Town in SF (I think).  I have a whole set of small dessert plates, but alas, just 2 large plates and 2 bowls.  I haven’t had any luck finding them online.  If anyone has seen them, let me know and I’ll love you forever!


9 thoughts on “spinach and caramelized onions over whole wheat pasta

  1. I made a pasta salad not too unlike this yesterday. Whole wheat pasta, baby spinach chopped, olives, red onion, a little crumbled feta and some grape tomatoes. Dressed it with garlic, lemon juice and EVOO. When I put spinach over hot pasta, I usually put it in the food processor and make a pesto-style sauce. With yours, I probably would throw in some pine nuts for crunch.

  2. Mmmm, pine nuts. They are unfortunately something that are a rarity in our house, as I can never find them for less than their weight in gold, it seems.

    Lemon juice definitely is a plan. iA I’ll do that next time I make it.

    • Ooo, I love roast garlic. Whenever I bake fresh bread (which hasn’t been since last spring, too hot for the oven on that long since then), I love to roast garlic with it and smear it on a warm piece with fresh butter.

      Must put fresh bread on the to do list for next weekend!

  3. This sounds almost Asian. The cooking method is almost the same, except after the onions, add chili paste/dried chili flakes, stir fry until the chili turns a deeper red, with some red oil floating on top. Then add in protein of choice (chicken breast chopped into small pieces, vegetarian protein, meat, if seafood add in later), stir fry for 5 minutes, add tomato ketchup + soy sauce + fish sauce and stir for 5 minutes. Add pasta/wet noodles/presoaked rice vermicelli, then spinach/bak choy. Cook till wilted, then ready to eat! Oh yum.

    • Ah, so many choices, so many varieties! I do have fish sauce, soy sauce and ketchup in the fridge, as well as some rice noodles. No spinach or bok choy unfortunately. I do know what I’ll be making next time spinach is on sale :D

  4. Sounds like you are good to go. Oh, any leafy green will do: chives (dried ones work too!), scallions, once I was desperate and chopped up brussel sprouts, haha! It didn’t turn out too bad.. LOL.

    Here is a link to another similar recipe: http://kuali.com/recipes/view.aspx?r=278
    (a lot of the recipes on that site are good)

    The key thing to do is to caramelise the sauces to get the flavours all nice and friendly with each other. But the veg you add almost last to get them nice and fresh. Oh, I forgot to say add egg to the recipe, either after the onions have caramelised, or almost at the very end, before you put in the greens, which will add to the moistness of the dish. Also you can add water or stock to make it a little soupy.

    Hehehe. Happy cooking!

    • Wow, thanks for all of that! I haven’t done a lot of south east asian cooking, but I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for a good cookbook, and dust off the one my sister brought back from her stint in a thai cooking school.

  5. Love your posts but to lazy to open your site – I get your posts in the mail so please let me know how to answer from my mail box – love Squeaky and love you lil sis!

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