Creamy Ricotta & Herb Pasta

This quick summer dish gobbled up the cilantro from my CSA share. The sauce was silky and fresh.

The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I reduced the oil and modified the method. Next time I may add some lemon zest and/or toasted pine nuts. Easy and delicious!

  • salt
  • 1 pound short pasta, such as shells, cavatappi, chiocciole, farfalle, ditali or wagon wheels (I used cascatelli)
  • about 12 ounces fresh, whole-milk ricotta (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
  • 4 T (1/4 cup) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving
  • 2 1/2 cups soft herbs, packed, such as cilantro, basil, chives, fennel fronds, parsley, mint, tarragon, chervil or dill (try for a combination of at least 3 kinds), coarsely chopped (I used a food processor)
  • lemon zest, optional
  • handful of toasted pine nuts, optional
  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 2 cups pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta.
  2. In the same pot, make the sauce: Add ricotta, Parmesan, olive oil, pepper and a large pinch or two of coarse salt, and stir until well combined.
  3. Add 1 cup pasta water to the sauce and stir until smooth.
  4. Coarsely chop the herbs with a food processor, if desired. (I used 1 cup dill, 1 cup cilantro, 1/4 cup parsley, and 1/4 cup basil.)
  5. Add the cooked pasta and herbs, and continue to stir vigorously until the noodles are well coated. Add more pasta water as needed for a smooth, soupy sauce. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  6. Incorporate lemon zest and/or pine nuts, if using.
  7. To serve, spoon the pasta into a serving bowl or individual bowls and finish with more Parmesan, drizzle of olive oil and more pepper, as desired.

Herbed Ricotta Pasta with Corn & Zucchini

IMG_9723

Every summer my kids take swimming lessons at our nearby beach on the Long Island Sound. We “have to” go to the beach every afternoon for two weeks. It is so wonderful. It is such a joy in my life! My friends and I relax and enjoy the beach and our kids play for HOURS before and after their lessons. The funny part is that because I am so tired from being so relaxed (?), it is difficult to make dinner when we finally come home!

This quick and easy dish was inspired by my friend talking about her plan to eat TONS of zucchini during an upcoming visit with her Mom. The recipe was adapted from Everyday Food. Perfect after a long afternoon at the beach- a perfect summer dish for Angie’s Fiesta Friday #30 at the Novice Gardener, co-hosted by Margy of La Petite Casserole. Wonderful dishes are shared- it is fun to check it out!

  • 3 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1-2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1 cup chopped (1-inch pieces) pole beans
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 14 ounces whole wheat farfalle, or other medium-sized pasta
  • 2 T chopped fresh dill, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 generous cup of whole milk ricotta cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees (I use the convection roast setting).
  2. Place chopped zucchini on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast at 425 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and tender. Set aside.
  3. Combine the ricotta, Parmesan, herbs, and zucchini in a large bowl. Set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta in the boiling water 3 minutes less that the suggested cooking time. Add the beans and corn and cook together the remaining 3 minutes.
  5. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Then drain the pasta, corn, and beans. Cut the kernels off of the corn cobs and add to the ricotta mixture.
  6. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water to the ricotta mixture. Stir to form a light sauce.
  7. Add the pasta and beans to the sauce and toss to coat. Add more pasta water if necessary to achieve the desired sauce consistency and coverage.

Note: I use any remaining pasta water to add to the leftovers prior to refrigerating; it helps maintain moisture when reheating.

IMG_9765

One Year Ago:

Escarole, Feta & Shrimp Pasta

When I have escarole in my CSA box, I try to make something new. It seems that the most classic use for escarole is in an Italian white bean soup, but I try to branch out. 😉

This is a quick, cheesy, creamy, TERRIFIC escarole pasta dish. We loved it. The recipe was adapted from Everyday Food. I used one half of a head of escarole subsidized with CSA turnip and beet greens. I also modified the proportions.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 pound to 1 pound short pasta, such as campanelle, farfalle, cappellacci, or gigli
  • 1 large head escarole, trimmed and cut crosswise into 1-inch strips (I used 1/2 head escarole as well as turnip and beet greens)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3/4 to 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, patted dry
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 8 ounces feta, crumbled (about 2 cups)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh dill
  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 1 minute less than package instructions.
  2. Add escarole and cook 1 minute. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain.
  3. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. (I used an enameled cast iron pan.)
  4. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds.
  5. Add shrimp, season with salt, and cook until opaque throughout, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Add pasta mixture and scant 1/2 cup pasta water and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
  7. Stir in yogurt, feta, and dill. If necessary, add more pasta water to create a light sauce that coats pasta. (I reserve the additional pasta water to use when reheating leftovers.)
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

One Year Ago:

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