Perhaps the only time I can’t underthink my food choices lately is when I am cooking for others. I (probably always will) have a tendency to place little pressure on myself when it comes to recipes and culinary creations, but if I am feeding others?
Well, let’s just say Little Miss People-Pleasing Perfectionist rears her cute little head of faux-complacency while hiding anxiety, insecurity, and four hundred rejected potential plans behind and “Oh, I just threw this together” smile.
Wednesday night was the third time I have officially cooked dinner for my friend (and new mom) Andrea. Not only was I responsible for her (and her husbands…and perhaps by way of breast milk, her baby’s) dinner, it also happened to be her birthday.
Pressure was on.
(As was the stove.)
But, my newfound realization that it is only when I make things more complicated than they need to be that I end up with subpar dishes led me to focus on keeping it simple.
And keeping it simple?
Well, that practically guarantees success.
(Also, knowing what foods they hate, and the fact that pasta is all around generally accepted as comforting and delicious.)
This White Bean, Spinach, and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta—inspired in equal parts by Cooking Light’s Warm Pasta Salad with Shrimp and my long lost friend Elizabeth’s go-to sun dried tomato, zucchini, kielbasa pasta— received the highest praise I can think of:
- 1 3/4 cups dry farfalle pasta
- 1 cup diced red onion
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 10 oz. spinach
- 1/4 cup julienned sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil
- 1 14.5-oz. can Great Northern beans
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
- Italian herb seasoning
- salt and pepper
- In a large saute pan, saute (or steam in a bit of water) the onion and garlic until softened.
- Stir in white beans and seasoning with salt, pepper, and Italian herb seasoning.
- While beans cook 3-5 minutes, whisk together lemon juice, mustard, and 2 Tbsp. oil from jar of sundried tomatoes.
- Add spinach to beans and stir just until wilted. Remove from heat and stir in tomatoes.
- Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Add pasta to the pan.
- Pour lemon/mustard/oil dressing over pasta. Stir well.
- Serve hot or cold.