I have been hooked on Lidia’s Italy recently. I love everything she makes and find the entire authentic Italian experience fascinating. It makes you understand how not Italian many Italian restaurants in the US are!
Anyway, this was one of her recipes I just had to try with a few tweaks here and there. The creamy ricotta, spinach and basil over warm pasta with nutty pecarino on top, you know you have a great dish there!
1 pound Rotelle
2 bags fresh baby spinach, washed and rough chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp crushed red peppers
1 onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup light cream
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp dried basil
1/3 cup pecarino romano cheese, grated or shredded
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, around 7-8 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, crushed red pepper and garlic and cook until onions turn translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the spinach, a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until the spinach is wilted, about 3-4 minutes. Add a ladle of the pasta cooking water and let simmer over low heat.
In a mixing bowl stir the ricotta, light cream and basil until smooth with the rest of the salt and pepper. Add this to the spinach mixture, mix well, warm through and remove from heat.
Drain the pasta and add to this mixture with more pasta water if needed. Toss thoroughly so the sauce coats all the pasta.
Serve warm with cheese sprinkled on top.