I love Greek food. Feta, spinach, hummus, olives…what’s not to love? Spanakopita is delicious, and if you’re unfamiliar, it’s traditionally made with spinach, Feta, onions and seasoning, wrapped in sheets of flaky phyllo dough and either formed into triangular servings or baked into layers and served like a casserole. When I found this recipe for Spanako-Pasta in Taste of Home’s latest issue of Healthy Cooking magazine I was immediately sold. What a genius idea to turn spanakopita into a pasta dish! I played around with the serving size (a 13.25 oz box of spiral pasta serves 7, which turns out to be a little over 1 1/3 cups per serving with the added ingredients) and this turned out to be a delicious, filling, cheesy pasta dish with tangy fresh dill and salty Feta cheese creating a delicious flavor profile. This may be an American twist on a traditional Greek dish, but I think it captures the flavors really nicely in a new and unexpected way.
Yield: 7 (1-1/3 cup) servings
- 13.25 oz box of uncooked whole wheat spiral pasta
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 t extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 T all-purpose flour
- 3/4 c fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth OR vegetable broth
- 3/4 c skim milk
- 1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese
- 2 T lemon juice
- 2 T chopped fresh dill (or a little less…I thought there was a tiny bit too much dill for my taste in the batch I made, so I might do 1.5 T next time)
- 1/4 t ground nutmeg
- 1/4 t salt
- 1/8 t cayenne pepper
- 3/4 c crumbled feta cheese
- Boil water and cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. When finished, drain and set aside. Reserve up to 1 cup of the pasta water if desired (I didn’t, but if you want your sauce at the end to be more of a liquid, you can take this step).
- While the pasta is cooking, pour oil in a large sauté pan and add onions. Cook and stir until onions are tender. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add flour and stir to coat/combine. Add the broth and milk, stir and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes until thickened.
- Add the spinach, Parmesan cheese, Neufchatel cheese, lemon juice, dill, nutmeg, salt and cayenne and stir to combine. Cook until heated through.
- Pour the pasta and sauce into a large serving bowl and toss well to combine. If desired, add some of the reserved pasta water to taste. Sprinkle with feta cheese or mix through as desired.
adapted from Taste of Home