If you've got a busy weekend lying ahead of you, I've got the perfect pasta recipe for you - I bet you're bored of opening that jar of your favourite pesto sauce to scoop over some spaghetti, so here's an unsual sauce for you to try. A few months ago, my daughter had the idea that she should be doing the cooking once a week, so we set aside Friday for her to prepare dinner for us. It only ever happened once, but it was quite delicious: gorgonzola and pear bruschette with watercress and this simple pasta dish, which is so easy even a 12-year-old can follow her instincts and get creative in the kitchen.
I would never have paired a pasta with citrus fruits, but the tangy taste of the grapefruit produces very interesting taste combinations with the sweet roasted pine nuts, the earthy spinach and the bite of the parmesan - it only took one fork-full and I was won over! All you have to do is bring all the ingredients together in a bowl, so the preparation time is no longer than your noodles take to cook, perfect for a weekday dinner or a busy/lazy weekend.
Carolin's no-cook pasta sauce with spinach, grapefruit and pine nuts
400 g spaghetti or linguine
For the sauce:
100 g pine nuts
225 g baby spinach (young leaf spinach)
5 tbsp good-quality olive oil
2 tbsp top-quality fruity vinegar*
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
black pepper (freshly ground or crushed)
150 g parmesan shavings
Cook the pasta to package instructions.
In the meantime, dry-roast the pine nuts in a non-stick pan, stirring constantly so they don't burn. As soon as they start to release their typical sweet smell, turn off the heat, as the pan will still release enough warmth for them to turn nicely, but not overly, brown.
In a bowl, combine the garlic, oil and vinegar, then add the juice of one half and the skinned segments of the other half of the grapefruit. Combine and season well with pepper and salt. When the pasta is al dente, drain, return to the pot and add the sauce, then stir in the spinach and put a lid on. When the spinach has wilted slightly, divide the pasta onto plates and sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts and the parmesan shavings. Serve immediately, with some salad on the side if you wish.
*I used a UNIQ "Vinagre de vino dulce de moscatel", a vinegar made from sweet (dessert) wine made with muscatel grapes - but an apple balsamic vinegar would work equally well.