This recipe idea was born out of one of my go-to, "I only have twenty minutes to throw together dinner" kind of pasta sauces. I was going to saute garlic and spinach in a white wine sauce, add in a little cream or butter and toss with fettucini and a healthy sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Nothing wrong with that, right? Nope, but I had a new idea. What if I blend everything together and make a green cream sauce? Why not?
So there it is. A simple béchamel sauce, blended with fresh spinach and roasted garlic. Green, roasted garlic cream. It's heavenly, savory and packed with nutritionally rich raw spinach.
Sit down to this bowl of pasta and feel good about getting in a few servings of green leafy vegetables - even if it is in your cream sauce.
Fettucini with Spinach Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce
If you can't find spinach fettucini, any fettucini or long pasta will do just fine.
2 large garlic bulbs, halved
drizzle of olive oil
1 pound spinach fettucini
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoons cayenne
a couple grates of nutmeg
5 ounces fresh baby spinach
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place garlic cut side up on a large sheet of foil, drizzle with olive oil and seal well to form a pouch. Roast in oven 35-40 minutes, or until garlic is softened and slightly caramelized.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and stir constantly for 2 minutes to cook off the raw flour taste. Whisk in milk and stock and simmer, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until it starts to thicken. Stir in Parmesan cheese, cayenne and a few grates of nutmeg.
Transfer béchamel sauce to a blender with the spinach. Squeeze the garlic bulbs over the blender to add in the roasted garlic cloves. Carefully puree until smooth and transfer back to the pot. Re-warm over medium-low heat. Season well with salt and pepper.
Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water. Toss pasta with the green cream sauce, adding in some of the starchy pasta water if needed. Adjust seasoning and garnish with extra grated Parmesan cheese.