Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pasta "Rags" with Fennel, Mushrooms and Spinach

This, if I may say so myself, was an absolutely stellar meal! I would have devoured the entire thing in one sitting, except that I really wanted to be able to savor leftovers at work the next day ... thus, restraint and patience were required.

Pasta "rags" are merely broken pieces of lasagna noodles -- a thrifty way to use up scraps rather than having them go to waste. I didn't happen to have any crumbled bits, so I simply broke them up myself specifically for this dish.

Now, I know that telling someone you're serving "rags" is hardly enticing! So let's call it by its Italian name; the Italians and the French ... man, they can make anything sound good, can't they???

Okay, here goes: Stracci di Pasta con Finocchio, i Funghi e Gli Spinaci. And this is how it's pronounced: [STRAH-chee dee PAHS-tuh kohn feen-OH-kyoh ee FOON-ghee ay lyee speen-AH-chee]

Trust me -- as convoluted as that looks, it is a gorgeous thing when said properly! But I make no claims to being able to say it well myself; I can say it, but not like an Italian can. So let's just shorten it to "Stracci di Pasta" and make it easier on ourselves!

Anyway, this dish came about because I had a fennel bulb, 3 mushrooms, and a handful of Farmers' Market spinach to use up before they rotted ... and you know how quickly these things can turn on a girl. Amazing how the whole can so fabulously exceed the sum of the parts!

Listen to some gorgeous melodramatic Italian opera while you're cooking, and then enjoy your dinner with a lovely glass of wine. You, too, can feel transported to Italy by the vibrant and seductive flavors of this dish ....

Stracci di Pasta con Finocchio, i Funghi e Gli Spinaci

6 whole wheat lasagna noodles, broken into 2" pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 small fennel bulb, stalks removed, halved, sliced thin
3 white mushrooms, halved, sliced
2 cups chopped spinach leaves
1/4 cup pesto
parmesan cheese, for serving

Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat oil, red pepper flakes, and garlic in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add fennel and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fennel softens. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly golden. Add spinach and cook just until wilted.

Add pesto to drained lasagna noodles and stir to coat well, then stir in vegetables. Serve immediately, topped with parmesan cheese.

Serves 2 generously.


Be-Bop-A Blog Hop Wednesday


Nicole said...

I really wish I liked mushrooms. But it looks divine!

Lisa said...

I love this idea to use up lasagna noodles! I've had some in the cabinet and I always wonder if I should just throw them away. Looks great with the veggies too! YUM : )

bj said...

UMMM, this sounds just wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe.
Going to browse now and see your other recipes.
You have a darling blog, you Floozie, you. :))
O, and I just became your 695th follower..
Now, ya just gotta come and see what I am....uh....makin'.:))
xo bj

Unknown said...

My grandma used to use up the bits and pieces of lasagna noodles too. It was never this fancy though :) Will definitely be giving this a try!

Cranberry Morning said...

Thank you, thank you! Not only for the beautiful recipe, but for showing me how to pronounce it correctly! So finocchio is fennel? Interesting! I wonder if Pinocchio ate finocchio? (Sorry, Mary.) I will enjoy making this dish!

Mary Sullivan Frasier said...

Oooh girl! I'd eat Stracci di Anything that you made, but this one is to. die. for! I love all things pasta, fennel, spinach and mushroom, so how could I go wrong with this? Maybe tonight for dinner if I can get to the Wednesday afternoon farmer's market!? I'm drooling all over my keyboard right now...

Thanks for sharing yet another mouthwaterer! (is that even a word?) I'll have to dig out my Pavarotti CD for this one! :~)

~Mrs B

Miriam said...

I was wondering what to do with my broken lasagna noodles!!!!! I'm making this tonight! :), Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

And to think I was about to toss out that box of broke up lasagna noodles!! Thanks Mary for this one, it looks and sounds amazing, and best of all, I have a use for broke pasta pieces :)

keri said...

Mmmmmm now this is up my alley. I'm keeping this one .. awesome.

sasha said...

Hi there. Stopping by from the Wednesday Hop! Great blog the recipe looks delicious. I am a new follower. Please stop by my blog Diaper Style Memoirs and follow back :) Enter the amazing Honeycup Giveaway while you're there.

Have a great day!
Diaper Style Memoirs

Chef in Training said...

YUM! This looks great! I love new recipes! I am your newest follower and would love it if you would follow me too! Thanks!

Chaya said...

You are right about the name. IT makes it sound very classy, no matter what it means. In fact, it is classy. Pasta is pasta, broken or whole. Looks absolutely delicious. Thanks for linking it up.

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