Spinach with Garlic and Hot Pepper

All kinds of greens are good cooked this way. Try Swiss chard, escarole, dandelion greens, arugula, or beet greens. For firmer vegetables like broccoli, broccoli rabe, kale, and collards, add a little bit of water to prevent them from scorching. You can serve these with practically anything, use them as a topping for pizza and crostini, or toss them with pasta or cooked dried beans for an easy main course.

Serves 4

Ingredients For Spinach with Garlic and Hot Pepper:

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1½ pounds spinach, washed, drained well, and trimmed

Salt

Ingrediesnts For Spinach with Garlic and Hot Pepper:

In a large saucepan, cook the garlic and red pepper, if using, in the oil over medium heat until the garlic is golden, about 2 minutes.

Add the spinach and sprinkle it with salt. (Be careful, because the hot oil can sputter and splash if the vegetables are wet.

If cooking firmer vegetables, add ¼ cup water.)

Cover the pan and cook, stirring once or twice, until the spinach is tender and wilted, about 4 minutes (longer for firmer vegetables).

Serve hot or at room temperature.

VARIATIONS

Use butter instead of oil.

Sprinkle the cooked greens with a dash of fresh lemon juice or vinegar.

Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.