Spinach And Balsamic Cream Pasta Recipe

Not all types of vinegar are made the same — take balsamic vinegar, for example. It's a special type of vinegar made from freshly crushed grape juice, known as must. The production of balsamic vinegar involves a slow fermentation that can take many years to come to fruition — up to 25 years, in fact. Despite the lengthy process it takes to make balsamic vinegar, we sure are glad it happens, especially because it pairs so well in a number of dishes, including pasta ones. This spinach and balsamic cream pasta recipe highlights the vinegar in all its glory, offering tangy flavors that pair well alongside rich ones. 

Wellness coach and recipe developer Miriam Hahn brings us this recipe and says, "Balsamic vinegar has always been one of my favorites for salads but using it to create a thick and creamy pasta sauce is absolutely delicious and is easy enough to become a new weeknight favorite." Read on to learn how to make this flavorful pasta that can easily be converted to a plant-based meal by using dairy-free cream and butter. It's a keeper!

Gather the ingredients for spinach and balsamic cream pasta

To make this recipe, start in the produce aisle and pick up a shallot, garlic, baby spinach, and grape tomatoes. "The shallot has a delicate flavor that teams up well with the balsamic sauce," Hahn remarks. Then grab your favorite type of pasta (fettuccine or tagliatelle work well here), balsamic vinegar, some unsalted butter, heavy cream, salt, and pepper.

Step 1: Cook the pasta

Cook the pasta according to package directions, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water.

Step 2: Melt the butter

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

Step 3: Add the aromatics

Add the shallots and garlic and saute for 5 minutes.

Step 4: Add the balsamic vinegar

Add the balsamic vinegar and simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until it has thickened.

Step 5: Drain the pasta

Drain the pasta in a colander then return it to the pot with the reserved cooking water.

Step 6: Add more sauce ingredients

To the skillet with the balsamic, add the cream, salt, and pepper and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes, whisking frequently until it coats the back of a spoon.

Step 7: Combine everything in the skillet

Add the drained pasta, spinach, and tomatoes to the skillet. Stir for a few minutes until the spinach has wilted.

Step 8: Serve the pasta

Serve the spinach and balsamic cream pasta.

How can I customize this spinach and balsamic cream pasta?

This easy pasta dish can be tailored to suit your preferences in several ways. If you plan to serve the pasta as a base for seafood and want a simpler creamy pasta, you can easily skip adding the spinach and tomatoes. Or, if you want to substitute in other vegetables instead of the spinach and tomatoes, there are several options. Roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, or sautéed mushrooms are nice additions that contribute both flavor and texture.

To make the pasta more filling you can incorporate protein sources such as grilled chicken, shrimp, seared salmon, or cooked and crumbled sausage. If you want to add even more creaminess, experiment with different cheeses to the mix. Consider adding Parmesan, feta, goat cheese, or gorgonzola for extra flavor.

Instead of adding minced garlic, you can roast garlic in the oven which softens the cloves and gives them a buttery, spreadable texture. When mixed into a creamy pasta sauce, the roasted garlic blends seamlessly, adding a velvety consistency. The natural sugars in garlic caramelize during the roasting process, resulting in a mild sweetness.

What pairs with this balsamic cream pasta?

Bread is always a nice pairing with pasta. Serve the pasta with fresh sourdough, garlic bread or crispy breadsticks for a delightful combination. The bread can be used to soak up the creamy balsamic sauce.

Create a refreshing contrast by serving a simple green salad with mixed greens, cucumber, scallions, and a light vinaigrette. Some fresh greens with the warm pasta makes for a nice combination. Or making a Caesar salad with crisp romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese, and a tangy dressing can be a delicious side with the pasta.

A nice bowl of warm soup would also pair well. A blended pea or asparagus soup is a nice complement or a classic tomato and basil soup works just fine. The acidity of the tomatoes can balance the richness of the pasta. A hearty vegetable barley soup with a mix of vegetables and tender barley can be a wholesome and satisfying option. The earthy and savory notes of mushroom soup can enhance the overall umami flavors in the meal. Consider a creamy mushroom soup for added richness.

Spinach And Balsamic Cream Pasta Recipe
4.9 from 26 ratings
This spinach and balsamic cream pasta combines rich and tangy flavors for a simple but delicious dinner option.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
23
minutes
Servings
4
Servings
oval bowl of pasta
Total time: 33 minutes
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces fettuccine pasta (or pasta of choice)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups chopped baby spinach (stems discarded)
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
Directions
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water.
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the shallots and garlic and saute for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the balsamic vinegar and simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until it has thickened.
  5. Drain the pasta in a colander then return it to the pot with the reserved cooking water.
  6. To the skillet with the balsamic, add the cream, salt, and pepper and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes, whisking frequently until it coats the back of a spoon.
  7. Add the drained pasta, spinach, and tomatoes to the skillet. Stir for a few minutes until the spinach has wilted.
  8. Serve the spinach and balsamic cream pasta.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 719
Total Fat 39.4 g
Saturated Fat 24.4 g
Trans Fat 1.1 g
Cholesterol 116.1 mg
Total Carbohydrates 76.2 g
Dietary Fiber 3.8 g
Total Sugars 11.8 g
Sodium 627.2 mg
Protein 14.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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