I’m always on the lookout for simple pastas for weekday meals. This dish is essentially a deconstructed version of a stuffed pasta, both quick and tasty.
A quick and easy midweek pasta. The lemon zest adds some punch to the creamy ricotta and spinach.
- 1 ⅓ cups (11 oz) whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1 pound fusilli or other short pasta
- 1 lb (16 cups) baby spinach
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
- ¼ c heavy cream
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest plus 2 tsp juice
- 1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese (about an oz), plus extra for serving
- Whisk 1/2 c ricotta, 1/2 tbsp olive oil, several grinds of pepper and a pinch of kosher salt in a medium bowl until smooth; set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring often, until al dente (7-9 minutes). Reserve 1 c of the cooking water (I always forget this part in my eagerness to drain the pasta, so set the water to one side before the next step). Stir the spinach into the pot with the pasta and cook until wilted (about 30 seconds). Drain the pasta and spinach and return them to pot.
- While the pasta cooks, heat the remaining 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil, garlic, nutmeg, and cayenne in a saucepan over medium heat until fragrant (about 1 minute). Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the remaining 2/3 cup ricotta, cream, lemon zest and juice, and 3/4 tsp kosher salt until smooth.
- Add the ricotta-cream mixture and Parmesan to the pasta and toss to combine. Let the pasta rest, tossing frequently, until the sauce has thickened slightly and coats the pasta (2 to 4 minutes), adjusting the consistency with the reserved cooking water as needed.
- Transfer the pasta to a warmed serving bowl, dot evenly with the reserved ricotta mixture, and serve, passing the extra Parmesan separately.
- The original recipe called for a larger proportion of the ricotta to be reserved and dotted on the top. We found this made the dish quite cold. In this version, we’ve heated more of it with the cream.
- Serving Size: 6