Cavatappi with Spinach



Recipe Information

Total Time: 

30 minutes; 20 minutes active



Buttery, crispy breadcrumbs aren’t just good on baked macaroni and cheese, and this pasta will prove it. By pan-toasting panko in butter with some red pepper flakes and a hint of lemon, you create a delicious and crunchy topping for your pasta. There’s plenty of spinach in this, too, for a vegetable-rich meal.


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 12 ounces cavatappi or spiral pasta
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 5-ounce bunches fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Put a pot of salted water on the stove over high heat for cooking the pasta.
  2. In a medium saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and zest, then stir for a few seconds. Add the panko and stir to coat, and cook for about two minutes, until golden. Transfer to a plate to let cool slightly.
  3. Cook the pasta for about 10 minutes, or according to package directions, and drain well.
  4. While the pasta cooks, place a large pot or saute pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and then add the spinach in batches, turning and stirring as it wilts, until all the spinach is wilted. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper and mix well. Add the cooked pasta and toss to mix.
  5. Just before serving, top with breadcrumbs.

Serving suggestion

The fresh, lemony flavors of this pasta pair well with seafood or baked tofu. 

Nutritional Information

550 calories, 28 g. fat, 95 mg. cholesterol, 450 mg. sodium, 63 g. carbohydrate, 2 g. fiber, 14 g. protein