Spaghetti with spinach, garlic and vacherin cheese
I like spinach. I do not believe it makes me strong like Popey the Sailor Man (and he ate them from cans…) but it is healthy. On the farmer’s market in the town here they sell “cold-ground” spinach, big rough leaves with a snail here and there. It will not last when it starts freezing.
Start of winter is also the beginning of the season for cheeses that melt easily to be put on bread or in fondues after walks in the mountains or winter sports. One of my favourites is Mont d’Or, a soft cheese with a nutty flavour from the Jura area. It is a kind of Vacherin, a soft cow cheese, from a specific area.
It is sold in a small container as it tends to “run” when started, like the far more pungent Epoisses. Mont d’Or does not have a sticky outside.
My wife was going out for a long walk with some friends so I prepared her a lunch that would keep her going, with spinach, leftover Vacherin and spaghetti.
- 200 grams of spaghetti (12)
- 500 grams of fresh spinach
- Four cloves of garlic
- Three table spoons of olive oil
- A cube of chicken stock
- Put a big pan with water on the stove and bring to the boil.
- Wash the spinach, remove the stalks, wash again and dry in a salad spinner. Then squeeze in paper towels. Lie out on a big chopping board and cut roughly with a large knife.
- Peel and chop the garlic cloves.
- Keep the cheese handy and out of the fridge or cold storage room.
- When the water boils, add the stock cube. When this has dissolved, add the pasta and cook for 12 minutes or until the “bite is right”.
- In a big non-stick skillet with lid removed, add the olive oil and put on the fire. When the oil starts to sizzle, add the garlic and stir until turns to brown.
- Turn the fire low and add the spinach, if needed in several batches, and stir. The spinach will shrink. When it has reduced to about a fifth, turn the heat very low, add the cheese, stir and put the lid on so that the cheese can melt in the trapped heat.
- Drain the spaghetti and put it in a bowl.
- If the cheese has not yet melted sufficiently when you want to serve the pasta, turn the heat higher under the pan to accelerate the melting, remove the lid, stir and pour over the pasta.
You could also add chilli flakes, or sesame seeds and a dash of soy sauce but that would overpower the cheese.