Lemon Pasta with Ricotta and Spinach

Some beautiful lemon fusilli was the jumping off point for this simple pasta with ricotta and spinach. It all comes together in the time it takes to cook the pasta. Serves 2:

Lemon Pasta with Ricotta and Spinach

  • 8 ounces (half a package) spaghetti or linguini
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces spinach (baby or regular)
  • ¼ cup pine nuts (optional)
  • Pinch of nutmeg, grated
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cup fresh ricotta
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan

Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta to al dente.

Add the olive oil to a large sauté pan on medium high heat, then add the garlic and cook for a minute to infuse the oil. Add the spinach and pine nuts and toss to coat with the olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Turn the stove down to medium low.

When the spaghetti is cooked, drain it–save a little of the pasta water to add to pan with the spinach if needed. Add the ricotta, Parmesan and nutmeg and stir until the ricotta is melted and coating the pasta. If it’s too dry or you want a thinner sauce, add some of the pasta water, stirring until you get the desired consistency. Taste and add more cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

My verdict:

This was easy and quick, but a little boring and the recipe that inspired it, was even more bare bones. To boost the taste, I sautéed the spinach with garlic and pine nuts to give it some more flavor and texture. It could have used more of both. The lemon fusilli I brought back from Italy looked nice but didn’t really add much. Maybe some juice from the lemon I zested would have perked it up. And the ricotta could be replaced by a chèvre. So, it’s reworked now, on paper anyway, and probably sounds like one of the crazy comments on The NY Times Cooking website. What do you think?


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