If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s what we have to say about the tried-and-true combination of spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. Folded into a creamy sauce with stringy and cheesey mozzerella, this is a bowl of pasta to curl up with.
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto(ContainsMilk/Lait, Tree Nut/Noix)
Red Onion, chopped
Salt and Pepper*
When cooking the pasta, starch is released into the water; that starchy pasta water helps to thicken this sauce, without adding extra ingredients.
In a large pot, add 12 cups water and 2 tsp salt. (NOTE: Use the same amount of water and salt for 4 ppl.) Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the penne to the boiling water. Cook until tender, 10-12 min. When the penne is tender, reserve 1/4 cup water (dbl for 4 ppl), then drain the penne.
Meanwhile, wash and dry all produce.* Mince or grate garlic. Pick the basil leaves from the stem, and finely slice the leaves. Cut the mozzarella ball(s) into 1/4-inch slices.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together half the garlic, half the basil and 2 tbsp oil (dbl for 4 ppl). Season the mozzarella slices with salt and pepper, then add to the marinade. Stir gently to coat. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add 1 tbsp oil (dbl for 4 ppl) then the onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions have softened, 3-4 min. Add the spinach and remaining garlic. Cook until the spinach wilts, 1-2 min.
Add the penne, sour cream, pesto, reserved pasta water and half the Parmesan to the spinach mixture. Cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens slightly, 1-2 min. Season with salt and pepper. Lay the mozzarella slices on top of the pasta, then drizzle over any remaining marinade from the bowl. Cover the pan with a lid. Cook until the cheese melts, 1-2 min.
Divide the pasta between plates. Sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan and remaining basil.