My mother's pièce de resistance side dish. When there's unplanned dinner guests, she whips up easy spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino, uncorks a good bottle of wine and distracts them with these sweet and piquant Roman-style spinach, while she frantically fixes the entree.
This was also her only way to make me eat greens when I was a child. Sweet raisins and savory, garlic-flavored sautéed spinach are an unusual match. Some like to add pine nuts too. Try it and see.
500 g (1.1 lb) small spinach leaves
1 glass of water
50 g (1/4 cup) butter
2 tbsp raisins
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 spicy peperoncino or 1/2 tsp flakes (optional)
A pinch of lightly toasted pine nuts
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Soak raisins in lukewarm water. Perform usual anti-pesticide ritual for the fresh spinach with water and baking soda, rinse and towel dry. Steam or boil briefly in unsalted water. If pressed for time and guest are already ringing doorbell, tear open the plastic bag of store-bought frozen spinach and toss directly in the skillet.
Melt butter and a swirl of olive oil in a skillet and sauté the garlic (and optional peperoncino flakes) in it. Add spinach and strained raisins, blending flavors for a few minutes. Salt to taste and ingurgitate.