Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pappardelle with Ricotta, Spinach and fresh herbs

I'm always torn with pasta dishes. I like them light without heavy sauces and I always feel like pasta recipes try to shove as much stuff in a recipe as they possibly can or weigh the pasta down with thick creamy sauce. You might be asking..what the heck is wrong with that? Nothing..if you like your pasta that way, but if you're a pasta lovah and want a healthier lighter dish..this one might be for you..especially if you love fresh herbs!

I'm just going to do one more warning...don't use dried herbs. The fresh herbs make this dish. Also, if you want your spinach to be wilted and soft, saute with a little garlic and some olive oil. The one thing that took me by surprise..the spinach in the recipe stayed crunchy..and I kind of liked it...but..onto the recipe!

This is the picture off the cover of this month's Cooking Light that suckered me just reminded me of spring and summer..which I'm dying for both to get here already!

First up...lots of fresh herbs..parsley, dill, and chives!

I love cooking..but there's nothing better than doing it with Mr. Allan...there's nothing sexier than a husband who helps with the grunt work of making dinner. Mr. Allan's job...grating cheese.

I'm usually strict in our house and only buy whole wheat pasta..I couldn't find anything that was as thick as a pappardelle a special treat with regular pasta!

I'm also super organized when I cook..especially with new's everything prepped, ready, and waiting to go!

My finished product!

Onto the table for dinner...

Pappardelle with Ricotta, Spinach and fresh herbs
8 ounces uncooked pappardelle (wide ribbon pasta)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/3 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
3 cups baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
3 tablespoons grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


1. Cook pasta with 1 tablespoon kosher salt according to package directions, omitting additional fat. Drain in a colander over a bowl, and reserve 1 cup cooking liquid.

2. Combine 1/2 cup reserved hot cooking liquid and ricotta cheese in a food processor or blender, and process until well blended.

3. Combine hot pasta, cheese mixture, spinach, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl; toss gently to coat. Add additional cooking liquid to moisten, if needed.

Just a couple notes...the spinach stays crunchy..if you don't think you'll enjoy the crunch..saute beforehand. Also, I used Parmesan Romano on hand and it tasted fine. Also..measure your herbs. I saw a lot of reviews on the Cooking Light website of people complaining about an overwhelming chive or dill taste...I'm not a huge fan of either..but I really enjoyed this combo of herbs and the light ricotta sauce. One last note..I did use my food processor to mix the pasta water and ricotta..I'm not really sure that was necessary...I think it would have done fine stirring them in a bowl.