For his birthday dinner this week, my cream-and-dairy-loving husband requested creamy spinach pasta.  I was happy to oblige with this old favourite, and when trying to think about what might go best for a simple but celebratory dessert, a chocolate fudge sauce I’d seen in Nigella Express came to mind as an ideal vehicle for the remaining double cream.

Now, this isn’t a meal for everyday, and isn’t a meal for when you’re counting calories.  But, in its defence, the pasta sauce does use a vast amount of English spinach leaves (2 bunches!), and does feed 4 ravenous people.  It really is a very simple idea, and the spinach puree-sauce provides a wonderfully tasty coating for the pasta.  If you’re pressed for time, I would say that semi-dried tomatoes could substitute really well for these oven roasted ones.

There’s really no way to think of any healthful defence of this chocolate fudge sauce (which I think is like a sublime version of the trashy thrill of Reece’s peanut butter cups), unless you count the fact that it is so rich and delicious you won’t need more than a couple of spoonfuls of it over your favourite icecream.  (I don’t know what Nigella was thinking in saying that this recipe serves 4:  I would say this quantity of fudge would top 10-12 regular-sized sundaes generously.)


Creamy Spinach Pasta
Adapted from Vegie Food

Note:  the original recipe calls for fresh spinach fettucine.  I couldn’t find that this time, and instead used this pretty (dried) egg fettucine with a single ruffled edge.  Up to you.

6 roma tomatoes, cut into wedges
40g butter
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, chopped
500g English spinach leaves (about 2 bunches worth)
250mL vegetable stock
1/2 cup double cream
400g pasta (see note above)
shaved parmesan, to top

Roast the tomato wedges tossed in a bit of olive oil at 220C for about 30 minutes, until softened.

Put the pasta on to cook.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pan, and good the garlic and onion over medium heat until the onion is soft.  Then add the spinach, stock and cream, and push down the spinach to wilt.  Bring to a boil and simmer rapidly for 5 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly, then puree with a hand blender or in a food processor.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside until the pasta and tomatoes are ready.

When everything is cooked, tip the creamy spinach sauce into the drained pasta and toss well to coat the pasta.  Serve into bowls, and top with the roasted tomato and parmesan shavings.

Yield: 4 generous servings.


Chocolate peanut butter fudge sauce
Minor adaptations from Nigella Express

175mL double cream
100g milk chocolate, chopped
100g smooth peanut butter, chopped
2 tbsp golden syrup

Place all the ingredients into a saucepan and stir over low heat to melt and to combine all the ingredients.  In 2-3 minutes the sauce will be ready.

We had this with vanilla and caramel icecream, with some chopped salted peanuts on top.  Delicious.  Go crazy with it and let me know what you suggest.

Yield: enough for 10-12 sundaes.  Keeps in a jar in the fridge, and reheats just fine with a gentle burst in the microwave.