Penne with Spinach and Ricotta
When making tortelloni filled with spinach and ricotta, I sometimes ended up with leftover filling. It occurred to me that it would make a very nice pasta sauce, so I added a little cream to the mixture and it was delicious—so much so that I've been making it just to use as a pasta sauce. If you use packaged baby spinach, it is also very quick and simple to prepare.
Total Timeunder 30 minutes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationpeanut free, soy free, vegetarian
Taste and Texturebuttery, cheesy, creamy, rich, tangy
Type of Dishdry pasta
- 6 ounces fresh baby spinach
- ½ medium yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 pound penne
- ¾ cup whole milk ricotta
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated whole nutmeg
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Fill a pot for the pasta with about 6 quarts of water, place over high heat, and bring to a boil.
Put about 1 inch of water in a pot large enough to cook the spinach. Place it over high heat. When the water boils, add 1 teaspoon salt and the spinach. Cook until the spinach is quite tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain in a colander and squeeze out as much water as possible by pressing on the spinach with a spoon. Transfer the spinach to a cutting board and finely chop it.
While the spinach is cooking, peel the onion and finely chop it. Put the butter in a 12-inch skillet, add the onion, and place over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion until it turns a rich golden color, about 5 minutes.
When the water for the pasta is boiling, add about 2 tablespoons salt, add the penne, and stir well. Cook until al dente.
When the onion is ready, add the spinach and sauté, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Add the ricotta, cream, and nutmeg, and cook until the ricotta has heated through and the cream is reduced, 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and adjust for salt and season with pepper, then remove from the heat.
When the pasta is done, drain well, toss with the sauce and the Parmigiano-Reggiano, and serve at once.
2009 Giuliano Hazan