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The Ristorante Da Meo Patacca was a great favorite of the TWA crews years ago when the Captain was flying to Rome frequently. One of the most popular dishes of that discerning group of eaters was spinach prepared with garlic, pine nuts and raisins. Yes, raisins. Yum.

The recipe is simplicity itself. The quantities listed will make enough (barely) for two; adapt as required for your table.

2-3 Tablespoons raisins
1/2 kilo (1 lb) fresh spinach
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
2-3 Tablespoons pine nuts

First put the raisins in a cup with some warm water and let them soak for a while – 15 minutes to half an hour should be sufficient.

Wash the spinach well and put it in a big stock pot with a little bit of water. Cover and bring to a boil, flipping the leaves around frequently so they cook evenly. Cook them only until they are wilted and dark green; do not finish cooking them. Pour into a colander and let sit for a while or, if you’re in a rush, press the remaining liquid out with a wooden spoon.

Wipe out the stock pot with a paper towel, put it back on the stove and put in the olive oil. Put the garlic in the oil and cook until it is nicely browned, then remove it.

Add the pine nuts to the oil and cook until only just beginning to turn brown.

Toss in the spinach and the raisins and cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach is cooked to the degree you like it. Add salt and pepper to taste.

It couldn’t be easier, and it is absolutely delicious. The raisins are a wonderful surprise.