Pasta with Spinach and Ricotta Cheese

Oh my goodness, Oh my goodness.  This was so amazingly good.  Now I promised you some recipes with which you could use that beautiful RICOTTA CHEESE you just made and well, here's another.  This is some amazing good stuff.  I've had this recipe in the "make this!" file for a couple of years now and why I didn't make it sooner, well, one of life's mysteries.  The point is, it's sooooo good and now you must make it too.  This is what you'll need (not much)....

Very few ingredients, really.  Ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, chives, pasta, butter, salt, pepper and frozen (thawed and squeezed-dried spinach). The original recipe from the San Francisco Chronicle didn't include spinach, but for some reason, it just felt right to me, and oh, it really made this perfect.  Leave it out if you'd like to experience the original, that would, I'm sure, be good too.

Ok, so very few ingredients and BIG bonus! it's easy too!  Get the pasta boiling. Oh, if you can get your hands on campanelle pasta, please do so.  It's just hard to beat the way it holds the sauce and creates an amazing texture in this pasta.  I used fettuccine in the above photo and it was fabulous!  So it's definitely a good substitute if you can't find campanelle pasta.  Where was I?  Oh, while your pasta is boiling, get out an oven-proof bowl and in it put your ricotta cheese, spinach, chives, butter, salt and pepper.  Place this in a warm oven until your pasta is done.

Just before your pasta is done, remove a cup or so of the pasta cooking water (which has been previously generously salted).  Add this to the warmed cheese mixture to create a creamy sauce.  Drain the pasta and add it to the bowl and mix well.  Place this in a nice, clean serving bowl and top with more parmesan cheese.  Then count yourself one of the lucky people in the world and share it with someone you love (I did).  Resist if you can....

Pasta with Spinach and Ricotta Cheese
Printable Recipe 

Adapted from a recipe by Janet Fletcher, San Francisco Chronicle

 INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced chives
  • 1 10-oz pkg frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound campanelle pasta or fettuccine
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.

2. Combine the ricotta cheese, spinach, butter and chives in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Place in a low oven.

3. Just before the pasta is al dente, remove about 3/4 cup of the pasta water. Whisk enough of the hot water into the cheese mixture to give it the consistency of a creamy sauce.

4. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Toss well. Add the grated cheese and toss again, adding more water if needed to thin the sauce.

Serve in warm bowls.
 
Serves 4 to 6 (or not)