Christmas Pasta

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen around the Christmas holiday.  A lot.  But an actual meal can be hard to come by in One Woman’s Kitchen during December.  Today was another one of those days.  I spent a lot of time baking, but had zero plan for dinner.  No time to thaw any meat and no interest in going to the store.  Clearly it was going to be a pasta dinner.

A quick survey of the fridge revealed some fresh spinach that needed to find a purpose soon.  I also located open jars of roasted red peppers and capers and some roasted garlic.  So far we have something earthy, something mildly sweet, something briny and something buttery.  I really needed something to brighten things up a little.  Fortunately I also found some fresh parsley and a lemon.  There you have it, a five ingredient sauce that you can put together in less time than it takes to cook the pasta!  It’s called Christmas Pasta for two reasons. First, it’s a bright red and green sauce. Second, it’s a dinner you can put on the table within minutes of coming home from the holiday activities that prevented you from planning dinner!

This is a very good pasta.  It’s simple and light.  Next time I might use the whole lemon instead of just half, but other than that I might actually make this again – on purpose instead of by happenstance.  Think of this recipe as a guide.  The point is to use what you have.  If you don’t have a lemon use a little white wine instead.  No red peppers?  Throw in some halved grape tomatoes.  No capers?  Use olives.  Need something with a little more bulk?  Throw in some white beans, chickpeas or cooked chicken.  Have fun with it!

Good? Yes, surprisingly good.
Easy? Absurdly easy.
Good for company? Absolutely. It will taste like it’s more complicated than it is.
Special shopping? Nope. That would be completely missing the point.

Christmas Pasta

This recipe makes two servings so adjust as needed to feed more people.


spaghetti or linguine for 2, cooked
3/4 C cooking liquid reserved

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove roasted garlic
1 roasted red pepper, diced
2 tsp capers
3-4 C fresh spinach
1/2 C chopped fresh parsley
1/2 lemon


Cook pasta to al dente. Drain, reserving 3/4 C of the pasta water, and set aside.
Put oil in a large skillet and add garlic. Heat the oil and garlic until the garlic begins to smell.
Add the peppers and capers. Add pasta water and bring to a simmer.
Add spinach and parsley. Still until the spinach is just wilted.
Squeeze lemon over the pan.
Finish with salt, freshly ground pepper.
Add some freshly grated parmesan if desired.

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