There is trick or treating to be done and time is of the essence on Halloween night. As a kid there was no other way to look at it. My Mom made it as easy to get dinner ready while dressing me and my brother and sister in our costumes so no delays would be incurred. A tradition of “pigs ‘n blankets” and tater tots were her way of whipping up a super fast, no-work meal and we loved it. I don’t remember if we ate hot dogs rolled in Pillsbury biscuits any other night of the year.
While this dish may not have the nostalgia of my childhood it is made in the same vain– to be quick and easy so everyone can move on to the ghoulish goodies that await. Making a simple pasta with a rich walnut dressing should only take about 15 to 20 minutes and the results are hearty and impressive.
What you’ll need to feed 4 to 6 goblins…
- A pasta of your choice (I picked up a 12oz package of Halloween Pasta)
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cups baby spinach washed and patted dry
- Grated mozzarella for serving
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Get a large pot of salted water going on the stove to cook the pasta in.
- While the water is coming to a boil toss about 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts into a large straight sided sauté pan. Toast the nuts, stirring occasionally just until fragrant, only a couple minutes, then turn off the heat.
- Finely chop 2 to 3 garlic cloves and set them aside.
- When the pasta water is boiling, add the pasta and cook until just al dente (consult the package for timing).
- As the pasta is cooking, place the sauté pan with the toasted walnuts over medium heat and add about 1/2 cup excellent quality olive oil along with the chopped garlic and stir. As soon as the garlic begins to sizzle turn off the heat and stir the mixture until the sizzling stops.
- When the pasta is cooked to your liking, drain it and add it to the olive oil and walnuts along with 3 cups of baby spinach, warming and tossing it over a medium-low heat just until the spinach is wilted. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve with grated mozzarella for a gooey touch at the end.