So right now I am home for the winter holidays, and since I am somewhat picky about what I eat (i.e. if it doesn't have any nutritional value, I won't put it in my mouth), I have been allotted the task of cooking for my family. Seeing as how I love to cook and rarely get the opportunity to do so for others, one would think that I would be thrilled about this, right? Wrong. You see, my family is filled with a bunch of picky eaters: my sister won't eat any meat other than chicken, my brother won't eat any dish that doesn't have meat in it, and my father won't eat most vegetables and hates any and all herbs and spices. I, on the other hand, eat all meats (although cooking with beef is a rare occasion in my life), often eat vegetarian and/or vegan meals, eat all vegetables (except for beets and celery, ICK), and have a spice collection to rival that of any professional chef. Needless to say, cooking for my family is often more trouble than it's worth. So last night, when I found out that only my mother and I were going to be eating dinner, I was thrilled because she will usually eat anything I put in front of her (although she is still wary of tofu and cumin). Since we had some part-skim ricotta in the fridge that I knew no one would eat after I went back to school (they are a whole milk all the way family, thanks to my brother who can eat whatever he wants and not gain weight) and since I could eat pasta basically every day of my life, I decided to make some penne with spinach and ricotta. I adapted the recipe from one I found on delish.com. The picture above, alas, is not mine as my camera is currently in Boston, but one that I borrowed from Martha Stewart. It comes close though. The pasta was good, although the sauce wasn't quick thick enough. I think next time I'll add less pasta water to the ricotta. I DID manage to make it in a half hour though, so it gets bonus points for being fast. My mom and I gulped this down, then picked up my sister and her friend to go see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which was quite an unusual movie. It at least had an innovative concept which is more than I can say for most films these days.
Penne with Spinach and Ricotta
Serves 4, adapted from Good Housekeeping
1 box whole wheat penne rigate (about 14 oz)
1 lb spinach
1 tbsp olive oil
5 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
In a large saucepot, boil salted water to cook the pasta. Once its boiling, throw the pasta in and cook until desired consistency is obtained.
Meanwhile, in a nonstick pan, heat the olive oil. Cook the garlic for a minute or until it starts to brown. Add 2 tbsp of water to the pan and cook the spinach until wilted. Once the spinach is done, remove the pan from the heat.
Once pasta is done, reserve 1 cup of cooking water (I might make this 1/2 or 3/4 of a cup) and drain the pasta. To the pasta, add the spinach, salt, pepper, ricotta, parmesan cheese, and reserved water. Stir in. If it's a little watery, heat it so that some of the water evaporates. Serve with some crusty Italian bread and bon appetit!