Sometimes I think people are under the impression that because I am into food and am a stay-at-home mom that I cook all day long. Though I do like cooking and probably cook more than most, I know that not everyone has the time that I might (and I know I won't always have that much), so I strive to make meals that are simple and quick.
Pasta is the perfect culprit. In the time it takes for the noodles to cook, everything else can be done. When I can make something that can be done in the time it takes a pot of noodles to boil, life is good. For me and for you, dear readers.
In my experience, greens in pasta don't scare away kids if there is also parmesan cheese involved. They can eat around them or they might even eat them and discover how easy it is to try something new.
Pasta with Greens & Proscuitto
Serves 4-6 adults - Every bit of this recipe is adaptable. Switch out the pasta,the greens, the meat, the cheese, even the oil! Here I used the young broccoli rabe greens that I picked up (for $2!) at the local farmers' market, but you could substitute absolutely any hearty green - baby spinach, arugula, swiss chard, collards, kale, dandelion greens, mustard greens, etc. etc. I also used proscuitto, an Italian cured meat, but Italian sausage would work wonderfully as well.
In a large pot, boil water and cook your pasta. Any variety will work. I used half whole grain and half regular spaghetti. In a separate skillet (or if you want to save on dishes, boil the noodles first, then use the same pot), heat a little olive oil over medium heat. Add 4-6 slices of proscuitto, torn into pieces and let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it looks a bit crispy (like bacon!). Then add about 4 big handfuls of greens (they will wilt down a lot), a pinch of salt and a few shakes of pepper and cook until the greens are wilted, about 3 minutes. If your pan is looking dry during this process, just add a little extra olive oil. When your pasta is done cooking, drain and combine with the greens and proscuitto in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup (1 big handful) of grated or shredded parmesan or Italian cheese blend and a little more olive oil and stir together so that everything is cheesy.