Dinner after the redeye? Spinach & ricotta with shells

Taste: ***
Difficulty: Easy
Cleanup: Quick

Cooking dinner after a sleepless night on the redeye home from San Francisco?  Not on the top on my list but we’re working from our house in the Berkshires where take out and delivery are not options.

So, I turned to Rachael Ray – “The Queen of 30 Minute Meals” – to figure what could I made quickly with as little prep work as possible.  I found this vegetarian recipe in the most recent issue, and I already had several of the ingredients — a container of ricotta and some parmesan.

All I needed to do was boil water, chop an onion and a clove of garlic, and open a couple of bags of baby spinach.

I used part-skim ricotta because that was what we had on hand.  I think fresh ricotta would be amazing but it can be hard to find.  Whole Foods typically has it.  And, Dearborn Farms, the wonderful farm market in Holmdel, NJ — where I grew up — always had it.

The pasta dish was quite good – with some sweetness from the onions and ricotta and some savoriness from the parmesan.  Tim and I both love spinach so it was a hit!  Leftovers might be my lunch today.


Spinach and Ricotta with Shells
Every Day with Rachael Ray, May 2009

  • 1 pound small pasta shells, such as conchiglie
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pound baby spinach
  • 1 pound whole-milk ricotta cheese, preferably fresh
  • 3/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese, plus more for serving

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente; drain and return to the pot.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat; add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach by the handful and cook, stirring, until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the spinach mixture, ricotta and ¾ cup parmigiano-reggiano to the pasta and toss. Serve immediately with more parmigiano-reggiano.

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