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Winter Greens & Goat Cheese with Pasta

Recipe courtesy of Chef April Neujean, Edible Schoolyard NOLA

Yield: Serves 12

Ingredients:

1 lb. Whole Wheat Pasta

½ Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

2 cloves Garlic, minced

2 cloves Garlic, sliced

¼ teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

1 (6 oz.) container Shitake Mushrooms, stems discarded, caps thinly sliced

1 lb. (1 large bunch) Spinach, Kale, or other leafy greens

4 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

1 teaspoon Salt

½ teaspoon Pepper

1/3 cup Green Onions, thinly sliced

2/3 Cup toasted Pecans (walnuts or pine nuts may also be used), crushed

1/3 Cup fresh Parsley, minced

6 ounces Goat Cheese, crumbled

3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese

Procedure:

  1. Prepare the pasta according to the directions.  Reserve ¼ cup liquid when draining.
  2. Tear or coarsely chop the greens.  Remove any thick stems.
  3. In a large skillet, heat ½ cup olive oil over low flame.  Add minced garlic and allow to cook for 6-8 minutes to infuse oil.  Pour oil into a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Return skillet to stove and increase heat to medium.  Add sliced garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for 2 minutes until garlic becomes slightly translucent but does not yet brown.
  5. Sauté sliced mushrooms for 2 minutes until they become soft.
  6. Add greens and stir.  Add lemon juice and thoroughly coat greens so that they may cook down more rapidly.  Add salt, pepper, and green onions and continue to stir until greens are fully wilted.
  7. In a large bowl, toss cooked pasta with garlic oil and cooked spinach.  Add pecans, parsley, goat cheese, and parmesan cheese.  Thin with reserved pasta liquid as needed.  Serve hot.