Spinach Pasta

published Mar 21, 2022
Spinach Pasta Recipe

Sneaking in greens is welcomed in this creamy, spice-packed pasta dish.

Serves4

Prep10 minutes

Cook22 minutes to 24 minutes

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linguine with spinach on a plate with lemon and piece of parmesan cheese on the side
Credit: Perry Santanachote

This creamy, cheesy pasta dish features a silky sauce that’s just thick enough to coat the noodles and wilted spinach leaves. The key to its robust flavor is using a good-quality chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano — true Parmesan from Italy. The pre-grated or domestic stuff simply won’t get you the right flavor and consistency. 

What Is Spinach Pasta Made Of?

For this recipe, we use bucatini, a long pasta that holds its own against rich, creamy sauces and complements verdant spinach’s flavor and texture very well. The sauce itself is simple in order to keep spinach the star. It includes the following:

  • Parmigiano Reggiano for savory, umami flavor.
  • Heavy cream for rich sweetness.
  • Freshly grated lemon and squeezed juice for brightness.
  • Ground nutmeg for depth.
  • Toasted walnuts for buttery crunch.

Is Spinach Pasta Healthy?

This spinach pasta is indeed rich and a bit luxurious, thanks to heavy cream, but any time you add vegetables to a pasta, especially a superfood like spinach, you get a boost of nutrients (in this case, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, folate, potassium, and a good dose of fiber).

Credit: Perry Santanachote

How to Make Spinach Pasta

Spinach pasta is straightforward to make. Reduce heavy cream slightly and add freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano until it melts into a creamy, dreamy sauce. A little lemon juice, nutmeg, and black pepper adds contrast. Once the bucatini is al dente, drain it and toss the noodles with an entire clamshell of baby spinach until it just wilts. Pour that sauce over everything, toss again, top with toasted walnuts and lemon zest, and dig in.

Spinach Pasta Recipe

Sneaking in greens is welcomed in this creamy, spice-packed pasta dish.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 22 minutes to 24 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 2 cups

    heavy cream

  • 6 ounces

    Parmesan cheese

  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 1/2 cup

    walnuts

  • 1 pound

    dried bucatini or spaghetti

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

  • 5 ounces

    baby spinach (about 5 packed cups)

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Bring 4 quarts water and 2 tablespoons kosher salt to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat.

  2. Bring 2 cups heavy cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Reduce the heat as needed to gently simmer and cook until slightly thickened, 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, finely grate 6 ounces Parmesan cheese (about 2 tightly packed cups). If your Parmesan has a rind, cut it off and add it to the cream as it simmers for more flavor. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lemon (about 2 teaspoons). Juice the lemon until you have 3 tablespoons.

  3. Spread 1/2 cup walnuts out on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until toasted and fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes. Add 1 pound of dried bucatini or spaghetti to the boiling water and cook according to package instructions for al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.

  4. Remove the cream from the heat and pick out the cheese rind if you added it. Add the lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and whisk to combine. Whisk in the Parmesan a handful at a time until completely smooth.

  5. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the cream sauce and toss over medium-low heat until the pasta is well coated, adding a little of the cooking water as needed to thin out the sauce if needed. Add 5 ounces baby spinach a few handfuls at a time, tossing constantly, until teh spinach is wilted. Taste and season with more kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with the walnuts and lemon zest.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave.