Green Pasta brings a hint of garden goodness to the table on its own or piled with embellishments. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

This simple pasta dish with its garlic butter and spinach sauce is perfect as is, but if you want to mess with it, add bumps and clumps of ricotta or feta cheese, steamed peas, broccoli, asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, grated carrot … It’s a canvas for all kinds of farm and garden goodness.

The roasted garlic butter can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for a few days, then reheated when you make the sauce. You may want to do up extra because roasted garlic butter is good on everything, but of course, you already know that.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at or 504-0545.

To add protein to the meal, try a crispy breaded pork cutlet, Italian sausage, shrimp, salmon, a sunny-side-up egg, or grilled or baked chicken. Plop your choice right on top of the pasta or alongside. I’ve done it all and it’s all yummy.

Speaking of baked chicken, I was asked recently how to bake boneless chicken breasts so they don’t dry out. First, I bring the chicken to room temperature, then I preheat the oven. I brush the chicken with plenty of olive oil, then pat the seasoning on all over. Be generous with coating the chicken and try different combinations of herbs and spices.

Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chicken. If you’ve bought a package of those gigantic chicken breasts, slice them in half lengthwise. I like to weigh the individual pieces, and cook for 20 minutes those that weigh 6-8 ounces. It’s important to note that cooking chicken breasts at a hot temperature for a shorter time is better. And using a meat thermometer really takes the guesswork out of the procedure.

I often cook a batch of four chicken breasts a week, seasoned in different ways. I can then add sliced chicken to my lunch salads or have it for dinner with a pile of veggies if I’m too busy or tired to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.


These cooked chicken breasts are great to have ready in the freezer, too. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or slice or shred the chicken. Pop this in the freezer uncovered. Once completely frozen, transfer the chicken to a freezer-safe bag and store it for up to 3 months. This will come in handy, I assure you.

Green pasta with garlic butter

1/2 cup butter, sliced into 4 pieces

Kosher salt

1 large head of garlic, halved crosswise, skin intact

1 pound angel hair pasta

1 cup reserved pasta water


5 ounces baby spinach

Freshly ground black pepper

Red pepper flakes, optional

Parmesan cheese, grated, to finish

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place butter in a small baking dish and sprinkle with salt. Place garlic halves cut side down on top of the butter. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the garlic is completely soft and buttery.

Remove from the oven and carefully remove foil. Cool, then remove garlic cloves from the peel and mix them with the melted butter. Set aside.


Cook the pasta in well-salted water until just al dente. Remove 1 cup of pasta cooking water before draining pasta and set aside.

Place spinach in a food processor or blender along with the garlic butter. Add a pinch of salt, a few grinds of black pepper and red pepper flakes, and blend until completely smooth, adding reserved pasta water a tablespoon at a time. (You won’t need it all.) Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Pour the spinach sauce into the empty pot that you used to cook the pasta. Add the drained pasta along with a splash of pasta water to the pot. Cook over medium-high heat, tossing constantly, for 2 minutes or until the sauce thickens enough to coat the spaghetti.

Divide among serving bowls and top with more pepper and grated parmesan cheese.

Yield: 4 servings

Oven baked chicken breasts

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (each weighing 6-8 ounces)


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1-2 teaspoons garlic salt

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season chicken breasts on all sides with oil and seasonings. Place chicken breasts in a baking pan. Bake for about 20 minutes or until chicken reaches 165 degrees on a thermometer. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Yield: 4-6 servings

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