Thursday, October 28, 2010
Fusilli with Spinach and Ricotta
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This is a wonderfully mild pasta that's light and easy on the palate. It's flavors are much like those found in spinach and cheese ravioli, but this deconstructed version is much less work. It's perfect for those evenings when you have a yen for pasta but your stomach can't quite handle a heavy spicy sauce. It really is quite easy to prepare, but it's not a pantry meal. The recipe requires fresh greens and, if possible, fresh ricotta. That means advanced planning is needed to make this dish properly. Lidia Bastianich developed the recipe on which mine is based. I've made some changes because I thought the original dish had too little sauce for the amount of pasta that was cooked. I also use more salt in the pasta water to assure it has some flavor. I generally add 1 teaspoon of salt for every quart of water in my pasta pot. I use a 6 quart pot, so I always add 2 tablespoon of salt to the pasta water. I add the salt after the water comes to a boil and I let the water return to a boil before I add the pasta. Shirley Corriher has written an article about the art and science of cooking pasta that you might find interesting. It can be found here. This is a lovely pasta to have in your rotation. You won't make it as often as some others, but it will not disappoint you. Here's the recipe.
Fusilli with Spinach and Ricotta...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite adapted from a recipe by Lidia Bastianich
1 pound baby spinach, washed and patted dry
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 small scallions, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup half-and-half or light cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
12 ounces dried fusilli
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1) Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons salt to boiling water.
2) Stacking leaves, cut spinach crosswise into 1/4-inch strips. You should have 8 packed cups of shredded spinach.
3) Heat olive oil in a large pan or skillet set over medium-high heat. Add scallions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir spinach and a pinch of salt and pepper into pan. Cover and steam spinach, stirring occasionally to cook evenly, until it's wilted but still bright green, about 5 minutes.
4) Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix ricotta, half-and-half, and nutmeg, if using, until smooth. Stir ricotta mixture and butter into spinach and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.
5) Meanwhile, stir fusilli into boiling water and cover pot. When water returns to a boil, remove cover. Cook pasta, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 12 minutes.
6) Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta cooking liquid. Drain pasta well and return it to its pot over low heat. Add spinach mixture and enough reserved cooking liquid to make a sauce that will lightly coat pasta. Toss thoroughly. Remove pot from heat and stir in grated cheese. Transfer pasta to a warm serving platter or individual bowls and serve. Yield: 6 servings.
You might also enjoy these recipes:
Pasta with Spinach and Asiago Cream Sauce - Good Things Catered
Heart Healthy Pasta with Spinach Sauce - What's for Dinner Across State Lines
Garden Pasta with Ricotta - Radishes and Rhubarb
Penne with Ricotta and Basil Sauce - My Fabulous Recipes
Malfalda Pasta with Ricotta Cheese - Anna's Table
Roasted Zucchini Pasta with Ricotta Cheese - Foodie/Nutritionist