Pasta night , who doesn’t love one. It’s express , healthy , filling and fun. If you are a pasta lover and like to make it more than one ways then you will like this recipe.
This week it was creamy spinach penne pasta without added cream or cheese with a side of warm ciabatta bread. Feel free to add some cheese or cream but it’s not needed.
It’s a delicious way to sneak in spinach in your meal especially if you have kids who despise greens.
Spinach pasta is a regular affair at my place. I make it for dinner most of the times and this time when I made it I thought of making a quick tutorial of the same. The clicks aren’t that fancy as I clicked them in a jiffy right before dinner. But no compromise on the taste.
I promise this post will be super quick and not very elaborate. Hope you enjoy this delicious recipe as much as we do . Do not forget to check make ahead of time tips to make this recipe super express.
What makes this pasta healthy creamy without cream?
Well it’s the roux and milk mixture , in short bechamel / white sauce.
And why healthy you ask – Because I haven’t used butter or apf , wheat flour and canola oil is used instead. So this makes it a healthier version.
We love loads of veggies in our pasta. Feel free to use your favorite ones or skip them and just keep it penne and spinach cream sauce.
Creamy without cream or cheese
preparations can be done ahead of time
The composition – veggies used
Broccoli , bell peppers , onions , sweet corn and zucchini .
Below is the step by step pictorial recipe followed by the instructions.
There are 4 important steps to this recipe –
1)Steam and puree the spinach. ( blanching not needed if making the same day)
2)Boil the pasta .
3)Make the bechamel/white sauce.
4)Sautee the veggies in another pan.
Make ahead of time
Boil and well coat the pasta with oil , store it in refrigerator for upto 4 days
Chop your veggies 3-4 days prior except onions.
Make spinach puree and store in the refrigerator upto 3 days ahead (blanching recommended )
Bechamel stays good in the fridge for 4-5 days , may thicken which can easily be thinned later.
Creamy spinach penne pasta without added cream
- 4 cups loosely packed spinach
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups assorted veggies
- 2 cups pasta before boiling
- 2 cups milk or more hot milk *
- 2.5 tablespoon canola/ veg / olive oil
- 2 tablespoon wheat flour
- 2 – 3 cloves of minced/ grated garlic
- 2 teaspoon dried mixed Italian herbs optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chilly flakes optional
- Some extra virgin olive oil for drizzle optional
Cook pasta al dente according to the package. Do not over cook . Drain the pasta and run under cold water to stop cooking it further.
In a large pot bring 1 cup water to a boil. Roughly chop the spinach and add it to the water , pressing gently with the spoon to fit all the spinach in. Cook for 2 minutes until all spinach is wilted. Remove he spinach with a slotted spoon. At this point you can blanch spinach by adding it in a bowl of ice cold water. I did not blanch. Puree the spinach mixture when it cools down and set aside.
For the béchamel/ white sauce in a heavy bottom pan heat up the oil . Add in the flour and cook it for 30 seconds on medium low flame stirring it continuously. Add in the milk with one hand and stir continuously with another to avoid lumps. You can use a balloon whisk to smoothen the lumps . Cook the sauce until it comes to a simmer and thickens. Add in the spinach puree, cook for 1 minute. Add in some salt , pepper and herbs. Switch off the flame.
In another pan, heat up some oil and sautee the garlic , then add in the desired veggies , salt and pepper. Be careful with salt as sauce has it.
Add chilly flakes if desired. Sautee for a minute or so , do not over cook the veggies.
Now time to assemble just before serving. Fold veggies in the sauce . Add in the pasta and give a quick mix. Taste test and adjust seasonings. Serve hot with a teaspoon or two drizzle of extra virgin olive oil . Enjoy as it is or with a side of soup or crusty breads.
Use desired pasta and veggies.
I add warm milk as it expedites the process of simmering.
if you love pastas make sure to check healthy spaghetti in homemade quick arrabiatta sauce – for the recipe click here .
Hope you like this recipe and do give it a try. I would love to hear from you. If you have tried any of my recipes make sure you click pictures of your hard work and do drop in a feedback below and pictures on my Facebook page carveyourcraving in messages section. You can follow me on Pinterest too.
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