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Pasta with Lemon, Ricotta, and Spinach


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I watch a lot of Italian television, and in the shows that I watch, they cook and they eat. One thing I have noticed when they cook pasta is that they don’t drain it. They use tongs and they take pasta right from the boiling water, and drop it into whatever sauce they happen to be using. That strikes me as immensely practical. It spares you the draining process (and dirtying another dish), and setting aside some pasta water to stir it to make sauce creamy, because the pasta that you have removed from the pan of boiling water already has enough adhered to it.  I put that style of pasta making to use when I made this dish, and I don’t think I will make pasta any other way.  
This dish is very light and refreshing. It’s the perfect springtime pasta.

  Pasta with Lemon, Ricotta, and Spinach

 8 oz. spaghetti

½ 10-oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach

1 c. whole-milk ricotta

1 T. extra virgin olive oil

1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1 large garlic clove, grated

1 lemon, zest and juice

¼ - ½ t. kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package directions until al dente.

 Cook spinach according to microwave package directions.; set aside to coo; slightly while you make the ricotta sauce. 

In a medium mixing bowl, combine ricotta, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon zest and juice, salt, and pepper. fold i  cooled, cooked spinach until combined.

 When pasta has finished cooking, use a tongs to extract it from the cooking pot, placing pasta directly into ricotta sauce. Toss with the tongs until evenly coated with the sauce, and serve immediately. If you'd like it creamier, feel free to add up to 1/2 cup pasta water.

 Makes 2 main dish portions, or 4 side dish portions.


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