Recently, when I prepared my rustic pasta meal for Cook the Books, I balanced the main course with a side of spinach. The extra touch of garlic and crushed red pepper was just perfect.
Spinach, Sicilian style
1 pound fresh spinach, about 2 bunches
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
Wash spinach leaves, discarding any blemished ones. Cut into strips.
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil, add one teaspoon salt and the spinach. Blanch for only 2 minutes. Remove spinach with slotted spoon, place in a colander, and drain. (I'm sure this step can be streamlined.)
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic. When the garlic starts to turn golden, remove the skillet from the heat, add the spinach, then simmer for 4-5 minutes, or until tender. (It won't take long.) Season to taste. Sprinkle with the crushed red pepper flakes.
Serve hot or at room temperature.