Creamy Lemon Fusilli with Spinach and Tomatoes

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by Amy Flanigan on August 3, 2010 · 27 comments

If I was your boss, I could assign you to certain projects you detest. I could imply not so pretty consequences if things don’t get done. I could micro-manage. I could blame you for my own incompetence. I could make you wear a lot of obnoxious flair, and you’d have to pretend to enjoy it. Basically, I could make your life miserable if you didn’t do as I say. (Wow…I’m a pretty mean boss.)

But, alas, you don’t work for me. So I can’t threaten you. I can’t write you up. I can’t even talk behind your back.

I can only recommend. Encourage. And in this case, beg. Plead.

Pretty please, make this pasta dish. Pretty, pretty please. With a cherry on top. With chocolate on top? With a hundred dollar bill on top? With hot, naked people on top? (Wow…that’s some pasta dish.)

It’s one of my favorites. With lots of lemon flavor, sweetness from the tomatoes, and cream (which any splendid pasta dish should have, don’t you think?) So silky. And yet surprisingly lite.

Go. Go now and make this. And my work here is done.

Creamy Lemon Fusilli with Spinach and Tomatoes
Serves 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 cups heavy cream
• 3 lemons, zested and juice reserved
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
• 1 pound dried fusilli
• 6 ounces baby spinach
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
• 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

Directions
Set a large pot of water to boil.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the cream, the lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until it starts to thicken.

Meanwhile, add some salt to the boiling water and add the pasta; cook according to the directions on the package, stirring occasionally.

Drain the pasta in a colander and place it back into the pot. Immediately add the cream mixture and cook it over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes, until most of the sauce has been absorbed in the pasta.

Take the pot off the heat and add the spinach, Parmesan, and tomatoes. Toss well until the spinach has wilted. Season to taste, and serve hot.

(adapted from Living In The Kitchen With Puppies)

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Lana September 24, 2010 at 7:00 am

Thanks for your recommendations. With lots of lemon flavour.

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jenny September 18, 2010 at 1:31 pm

One of the first recipes I made that looked just like the picture! And the taste, my god, wonderful! I just found this blog and I am in love. :) Thank you for all the great recipes! I did substitute half the cream with skim milk and it still came out great. I can’t wait to try new recipes!

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Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking August 23, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Hi there,

Just wanted to let you know that I made this and it was wonderful! The flavors were just out of this world. I posted about it on my own cooking blog, here: http://comfortofcooking.blogspot.com/2010/08/creamy-lemon-pasta-with-spinach.html

Thanks for the great recipe!

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Amy August 19, 2010 at 10:54 pm

Greg – Ha! My 20’s are a distant memory. Good memories…but distant.

Lo – Sigh. I miss my tomato plants so so so much. Especially the cherry ones. Right off the vine, they’re like candy. If you can bring yourself to save a few, go make this. You’ll thank me later ;-)

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lo August 19, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Alright. Alright. You’ve convinced me. But only because you have a pretty good track record. And I have a buttload of cherry tomatoes to use up :) We’ve been eating them out of hand, but they’d also be delicious on some sort of pasta. With some hot naked people, of course.

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sippitysup August 8, 2010 at 5:58 pm

I have a feeling I am the same age as your dad! If you are anywhere in your 20s it’s biologically possible. GREG

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Amy August 7, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Daphne – Cherry tomatoes are my favorite. So sweet. When I had a garden, I would pull them from the vine and pop them into my mouth like candy.

Jen – Yea! Always awesome when I’m validated by you. I love this dish. I totally agree about the half and half substitute. And to thicken it up, you could always add slightly more Parmesan.

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Jen August 7, 2010 at 6:40 pm

I made this two nights ago and added chicken (for Jay), and it is absolutely fabulous! The lemon adds the perfect amount of flavor, and it’s super duper easy.

I do think if you do not want to use heavy cream, half and half will work just fine; it just might not be quite as thick of a sauce; however I don’t think yogurt or regular milk would be a good substitute for the cream. …Just sayin’.

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daphne August 7, 2010 at 4:52 am

yum yum! tomatoes seem to be in full season now is it? This looks awesome-hearty meal!

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Amy August 5, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Dani – That’s the spirit! Yes, everything in moderation, including moderation.

Jen – Bacon makes everything better. I make this pretty often, so I will try that addition and the half-n-half/skim milk combo next time. Thanks for the suggestion!

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Dad August 5, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Dani, call me Ishmael. Sounds like the beginning of a very long and boring book. Meanwhile, remind me not to have dinner opposite you at the table. I could be covered with pasta by the time I’m done with you.

Yes, call me Ethan. Love to meet you. There are so few people older than I, and it’s one of the few ways I’m going to look younger.

And Amy, how about adding a little bacon with the half-and-half! Might as well close both arteries while I’m enjoying myself.

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Jen August 5, 2010 at 11:38 am

FYI, i have made a pretty similar dish from a barefoot contessa recipe, which also called for 2 cups of heavy cream. i don’t have that kind of time to spend in the gym, so i cut that in half and substituted skim milk for the other half – it came out fine. delicious actually. Can i also recommend adding some crumbled bacon on top? (i don’t know how yogurt or mayo would work here, i’d be a little wary of trying that.)

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Dani H August 5, 2010 at 12:53 am

First, Ethan {may I call you Ethan rather than Dad? I think I may be older than you} if I’d been taking a drink when I got to your “give a whole new meaning to corkscrew pasta” I would have been spitting it out. You crack me up!

Amy ~ I don’t eat much pasta, but this sounds SO scrumptious! And I will use cream. There are some dishes that just need cream or butter or sugar. As long as we don’t have too much too often, it’s part of what makes life enjoyable in my opinion. *Big Hugs*

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Amy August 3, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Dianna – Ya, me too. She’s pretty rad.

Dad – Apparently Lora isn’t alone in her thoughts. A lot of my readers seem to be horny today.

Alicia – I know, right? I need to get on the CSA bandwagon. I would love an endless supply of cherry tomatoes!

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Alicia August 3, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Creamy lemony pasta-y? Oh, hell yes. I just got a fresh batch of cherry tomatoes in my produce box delivery today – this is going on the menu for tomorrow. Fo shizzle.

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Dad August 3, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Looks awfully good to me but remember, you’re not the boss of me. I’m going to complain to your mother. Then I’ll ask that she makes this. Tonight would be good.

And, Lora, keep your mind on the road. I read the post four times and didn’t see anything about naked men and positions opening up. It’s going to give a whole new meaning to corkscrew pasta.

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Dianna August 3, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Amy… stop scaring me and giving Jen bad ideas…. I like her just the way she is… :) lol…

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Lora August 3, 2010 at 11:00 am

I’m on the road now, so can’t do much cooking. But you are making me drooolll. Course talk of naked men tends to make me do that too. And when a position opens up requiring one to cook all your delicious foods, sign me up. Who can be mean over such delicious food.

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Amy August 3, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Dianna – If Jen was smart, she would force you and everyone else in the office to eat this. She’ll either gain further respect or a lot of friends.

Astrid – My readers and yogurt…I’m telling you, live a little! Use the cream! Lol. I do make a lot of recipes that can be altered adding or omitting meat. I actually think this dish is better sans meat. BUT, I do love pork. So please let me know if you go that route and if it’s yummy.

Jen – ;-)… See my response to Dianna (regarding your staff) and Astrid (regarding the meat.)

Lora – If I can get your attention while traveling, then my day is complete. Even better if you make it. All this cooking, eating…sharing the love. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

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Jen August 3, 2010 at 10:55 am

The post made me giggle.

Jay sent me an email saying, “This might be a ‘Jay Approved Carnivore Meal’ if only there was a little lemon marinated grilled chicken cut up into small cubes added to the dish.” Looks like I will definitely make this dish, but I will be adding chicken.

You seem to be frightening my staff! ;o)

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Astrid August 3, 2010 at 10:31 am

I love lemon in pasta dishes, especially slightly creamy pasta dishes. I may try to do a similar dish using some lemon pepper pork and a yogurt and cottage cheese blend instead of cream. I will let you know if I do!

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Dianna August 3, 2010 at 10:25 am

Amy, since your sister is my boss I got a little frightened reading your post, thinking you were gonna give her some really bad ideas. Thankfully she’s been my boss long enough for me to know she doesn’t have any of those horrible habits.

I’ll take mine with naked men… sounds so yummy.

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Amy August 3, 2010 at 10:10 am

Joanne – Michael Symon lathered in lemon cream sauce. I can see it.

Kim – As much as I love yogurt and mayo, I don’t know if that substitution would work. But there’s only one way to find out…report back, please! I need a personal trainer for so many dishes lately. The baked goods in my house right now are killing me.

Debbi – Lol. I’d rather have the cash too.

Melissa – Totally. This is one of those dishes that your mouth wants more even though your belly is filled to maximum capacity. We need to catch up…when Paul is back in town, a note is coming your way.

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Melissa August 3, 2010 at 9:44 am

I think you know this is my kinda dish. Maybe this weekend, for lunch. :)

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Debbi Does Dinner Healthy August 3, 2010 at 8:01 am

You can tell I’m old and broke as I would totally take the $100 bill on top rather than the naked men. Either way, this looks delicious!! I’m totally saving it! Thanks!

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Kim August 3, 2010 at 6:50 am

Fine- I’ll make it! But, I’m going to need a major raise to hire a personal trainer to help me work off the heavy cream. I suppose I could sub a yogurt/mayo mix? Heavy cream loves my hips too much. I do believe that sharing this recipe and giving me a raise would make you my bestest boss in a long, long time. And your lemon zest, garlic and parm? Check mate move. I wish I had this in my fridge right now so I could brown bag it for lunch.

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Joanne August 3, 2010 at 6:49 am

I’ll take my pasta with a side of hot naked people, thank you very much. Especially if one of them is Michael Symon.

I order people to make my food all the time, so you shouldn’t feel bad doing it. Especially with a pasta this tasty. You’re really doing it for their own good.

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