Saturday, July 20, 2013

Penne With Spinach and Cream Sauce

Yesterday, we celebrated my friend Rach's birthday with a round of pub golf (more on that in a bit).  KK, my friend Jenn, and I wanted to ensure we had a hearty meal before the big outing.  Since we were short on time, I originally suggested pasta and plain jar sauce, but KK wasn't having it! The blog's been too quiet recently and he wasn't going to pass up an opportunity for me to cook! After inhaling two bowls each, the three of us donned our golf attire, grabbed a cab, and met the rest of our golfing crew at Pilsner Haus & Biergarten for hole # 1.  This is our third year golfing around Hoboken for Rach's birthday, and I'm starting to think we're getting a little old for such shenanigans, but we still had a great time! I should pause here to explain the rules of pub golf: 9 holes = 9 different drinks and 9 different bars.  All players must be in golf attire, otherwise penalty strokes are assigned.  For more on pub golf, check out the official Pub Golf Wikipedia page.

So here's where we ended up:

  1. Pilsner Haus & Biergarten: 0.5L of beer
  2. Willow Billiard Club: 1 shot *CLOSED* hole to be rescheduled
  3. McMahon's Brownstone Ale House: Half price bottle of beer.  We also enjoyed a little photo hunt which is my absolute favorite bar game.
  4. 10th & Willow: Mixed drink
  5. Turtle Club: Can of Tecate or PBR.  I struggled here.
  6. Rogo's: Touchdown or Jager bomb
  7. The Clinton Social: Mixed drink plus the shot from hole #2
  8. Three A's: We were supposed to have a pint of cider on tap, but they were closing up shop when we arrived.  After a little convincing, the bartender let us in for a quick shot!
  9. The Stewed Cow: Rach's choice - a surprisingly delicious bottle of Fox Barrel Blackberry Pear Cider.

True to the instructions, this meal took just about 30 minutes to prepare.  It was incredibly low-maintenance, and cooking the pasta was the longest part of the process.  I used a jar of Classico Creamy Spinach & Parmesan.  I'm just now noticing that the jar is a limited edition/ Seasonal Selection, so it looks like I'll have to wait until fall/winter to find it again! I learned yesterday that Jenn shares my love for red peppers! Why are they so much better (and regrettably more expensive) than green peppers? And why, Jenn asked, are yellow peppers hardly ever used? Good question! Regardless - the addition of pepper, onions, and spinach really knocked my jar sauce dinner idea out of the park.  As per usual, I topped my servings with crushed red pepper.  Enjoy!

Penne With Spinach and Cream Sauce

Adapted from The Other Side of Fifty
Serves: 4
Time: 30 minutes


8 oz. Penne pasta
1 lb. ground turkey
1 medium onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt & pepper, to taste
4 cups fresh baby spinach
24 oz. jar tomato cream sauce
1 cup shredded Italian cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground turkey with the onions, red pepper and garlic, about 8 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the spinach and stir until it is wilted.

3. Add jar sauce to the skillet and stir until combined.  Cover skillet and simmer sauce 5 minutes.

4. Uncover skillet; add Italian cheese and Parmesan and stir until cheese melts. Add the cooked pasta and stir to combine.

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