Friday, May 4, 2012

Spinach and ricotta pasta

Tonight's Menu
Brown rice penne pasta with
Spinach ricotta sauce
Grilled Fish
Wine Pairing: Chianti, Sauvignon Blanc

Brown rice penne with spinach and ricotta cheese
The awesome flavour of fresh ricotta cheese with spinach makes for a wonderful sauce to serve over any pasta. This combo goes very well with a hint of nutmeg which gives it that Mmmm... feeling. Very often I use the brown rice pasta, available in most health food stores. It gives a nutty flavour and a slight bite in the texture and holds upto any sauce creamy or tamotoee. Serve it by itself or alongside grilled fish with a fruity white wine. I don't see this being paired with a red. 

Ingredients: (serves 4-5)
1 lb. fresh spinach, trimmed, washed, and dried well
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1 cup milk (can use light cream )
Pinch nutmeg (optional but recommended as it adds tonnes of flavour)
salt and black pepper to taste
1 lb. dried penne or fusilli pasta (I used brown rice penne)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
toasted pine nuts or almonds

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Shred the spinach in thin long strips. You should have about 8 packed cups of shredded spinach.
  3. In a large pan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about a minute. Stir in the spinach into the pan. Cover and steam the spinach until it's wilted but still bright green, stirring as needed to cook the spinach evenly , about 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together the ricotta, milk, and nutmeg, until smooth. Add this into the spinach and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Cook the pasta as per package directions, stirring occasionally, until al dente.
  6. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. 
  7. Drain the pasta well and return it to its pot over low heat. Add the spinach mixture and enough of the reserved cooking liquid to make a sauce that lightly coats the pasta. Toss thoroughly. 
  8. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the grated cheese. Transfer the pasta to a warm serving platter or individual bowls, sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and serve.

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