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a plate with a portion of Easy Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic toasted pine nuts on top. Fork and spoon near plate.

Easy Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic Recipe

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5 from 1 review

Easy Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Garlic Recipe– a quick and easy weeknight dinner with a handful of fresh ingredients and pantry staples. This Spinach Pasta is tossed in a garlicky olive oil sauce and flavored with lemon, red pepper flakes, basil, and plenty of parmigiano cheese. Yummy!

  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x


Units Scale
  • 1/2 pound spaghetti or bucatini, any long pasta of choice will work
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 ounces of fresh baby spinach
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, about 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste
  • Reserved pasta cooking water
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan cheese), plus more for serving
  • Optional: season with homemade toasted breadcrumbs, or toasted pine nuts


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season well with kosher salt. Add the pasta and cook al dente according to package instructions (about 8 to 9 minutes). You will reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, the sauce comes together quickly. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add lemon juice. Then add the spinach in batches—season with salt and pepper. Cook spinach until it is soft and wilted-about 5 minutes, giving a quick stir every minute or so.
  3. Drain pasta when cooked to al dente, and reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
  4. Add the cooked pasta to the pan with the spinach. Add the reserved pasta water and toss everything to combine. Add parmigiano cheese and keep stiring. Add lemon zest and fresh basil. Toss until everything is well-combined.
  5. If desired, drizzle with a little more olive oil. Serve with more Parmigiano cheese and garnish with fresh basil. Optional: season with toasted and seasoned breadcrumbs or toasted pinenuts. Enjoy!


Top Tips

    • Cook the pasta al dente: Make sure to cook the pasta until it’s al dente, which means it’s cooked but still firm to the bite. Overcooking the pasta can make it mushy and affect the dish’s texture.

    • Use fresh spinach: Fresh spinach has a better flavor and texture than frozen spinach.

    • Use high-quality olive oil: Olive oil is a key ingredient in the dish, so make sure to use high-quality extra-virgin olive oil. This will add flavor and depth to the dish.

    • Cook pasta while making the sauce: the spinach sauce comes together fast, so start cooking the pasta first since you need the pasta water for the sauce.

    • Add reserved pasta water: When combining the cooked pasta with the spinach and garlic, add some reserved pasta water to create a sauce. The starchy water helps bind the pasta and the sauce together and creates a silky texture.

    • Finish with cheese: To add some extra flavor, finish the dish with a sprinkle of freshly grated parmigiano cheese. This will add a salty and nutty flavor to the dish.

  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian