Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pasta with Creamy Spinach Sauce, Chickpeas, and Blue Cheese

I loved aged blue cheese, and there are several nice local ones to choose from around here. Local spinach has also become fairly easy to come by through the winter, thanks to savvy farmers with unheated greenhouses.

1 lb dry pasta
3 Tbsp olive oil (1 + 2)
1 large shallot or small onion, minced
1/2 lb spinach, stemmed and rinsed
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
3/4 cup milk (whole is good, but use what you like)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
2-3 oz. crumbled blue cheese

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water. Prepare the sauce while you bring the water to a boil and cook the pasta.

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet. Add the shallot or onion and saute for about 3 minutes over medium-high heat. Add the spinach and saute, stirring frequently, until it is wilted but not mushy. Remove from heat. Puree the spinach mixture until very smooth, then set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low-medium and whisk in the flour. Continue whisking until smooth. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly to get rid of the lumps. Continue to whisk as it thickens to a creamy consistency. Turn off the heat, then whisk in the spinach mixture until thoroughly combined. Add chickpeas, blue cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.

When the pasta is cooked, drain and toss with a little olive oil, then add the sauce and stir to coat.

Serve hot.

Serves 4-6.

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