I love fresh ricotta. And the fresh ricotta we have in the fridge has been begging for another use. I had various ideas about what to make with the ricotta, but I settled on a simple pasta recipe. I thought about making gnocchi or gnudi, but then decided to go with a simpler recipe. I also thought about making some sort of baked pasta with ricotta, but it's too warm to bake pasta right now. In the end I picked a recipe on Food & Wine from Lidia Bastianich because it looked easy and we had everything we needed, except the spinach and the sage, in the fridge. I was originally thinking of making up my own pasta recipe using spinach and ricotta with lemon zest, but I decided to try this recipe instead. The recipe actually called for pappardelle, but we had penne in the cupboard. So we went with that instead.
This pasta isn't going to win any awards for being new and original, or unbelievably delicious. And if all you have is grocery store ricotta I would steer clear. But with the wonderful fresh ricotta we picked up from the farmer's market it was actually quite good! The fresh ricotta gave it a very pleasant creaminess and richness and the Parm-Reg gave it some more robust, salty flavor. I never would have thought to pair fresh sage with baby spinach, scallions and fresh ricotta. When I think sage I think Thanksgiving or butternut squash. I don't think fresh ricotta and spinach. But it worked. The only problem was that the ricotta didn't cling to the pasta very well so some bites were essentially plain pasta, whereas others were full of spinach and ricotta. Oh well.
Recipe after the jump!
Penne with Spinach and Ricotta
Adapted from Food & Wine
6 oz penne
1 tbsp evoo
2 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced
1/2 tbsp sage, finely chopped
5 oz baby spinach
1 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2/3 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, until nearly al dente (drain the pasta 1 minute short of al dente). Drain the pasta thoroughly, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.
Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet, heat the evoo. Add the scallions and sage and cook over moderately-high heat until lightly browned and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted. Add the pasta, butter and ricotta and toss until combined. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water and the parm-reg. Season generously with s&p. Cook over moderately low heat, tossing, until the sauce is thick and creamy, adding more of the pasta water as needed. Transfer the pasta to bowls and serve right away, with additional grated parm-reg.