fettucine with seared tomatoes, spinach and mozzarella

i love love love dinners like this one. not only is it really simple to throw together, all the flavors balance really well, and it's something that should a baby or toddler beckon for your attention, another person can jump right into and not need much explanation to know where you are in the recipe. bonus that it's easily ready in 30 minutes - the longest step for me is waiting for the pasta water to boil - and the classic flavors are loved by toddlers and adults alike. this one easily makes it into my weeknight rotation and will taste especially good in the dead of winter, when we're longing for some kind of taste of summer.

fettucine with seared tomatoes, spinach and mozzarella
adapted from cooking light
30 minutes, serves 4

8 ounces (half a pound) fettucine - spaghetti, linguini, or other long pasta will work too
about 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
4 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
15 ounce can crushed tomatoes (or half of a 28 ounce can)
about 3 cups spinach
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced
  1. cook pasta according to the package directions and drain.
  2. while the pasta cooks, make the sauce. heat a large skillet (choose one big enough to fit the pasta and sauce, since it will all get tossed here in the end) over medium heat and lightly coat with olive oil. arrange the tomatoes cut side down and cook about 2 minutes until just starting to brown. stir the tomatoes and cook about another minute. remove the tomatoes from the pan and return the pan to the stove.
  3. turn the heat down to low and coat the bottom with olive oil. add the red pepper (add more if you like it spicy) and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. add tomatoes, season with salt, and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. turn off the heat, add the spinach, tomatoes, and pasta and toss well. divide the pasta among four bowls and top with the mozzarella. serve.


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