This quick-and-easy recipe for vegetarian pasta made with ricotta cheese and spinach is a one-dish meal that you can't beat for simplicity. It all comes together in about 30 minutes or less and is the perfect vegetarian dinner idea for a weeknight family supper.
Try it a couple of times as is and then experiment to your heart's content. You can add a drizzle or two of lemon juice to brighten the flavors, add some tomatoes, perhaps sun-dried tomatoes and kalamata olives if you're feeling up for something a bit Mediterranean.
And, if you and your family love getting your greens, you might want to add even more spinach or make it with another type of green like Swiss chard (although chard will need more cooking time than the spinach so plan accordingly).
Not counting salt and pepper and optional garlic powder, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese, only four ingredients are needed to make this meal, so be sure they are of good quality. It's so worth it, particularly in simple vegetarian dishes such as this one. There are no real strong or pronounced flavors due to its simplicity so you really want to make what is there shine.
This would be a great time to use homemade pasta or purchased fresh pasta since the flavor of the pasta itself is what you want to taste.
If you're going to use the optional olive oil and Parmesan cheese, make sure they're topnotch (this is not the time for Parmesan cheese out of a shaker can). And using sea salt, kosher salt, or another high-quality salt will always pay off when cooking.
- 1/2 pound pasta (any kind)
- 10 ounces fresh spinach
- 3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 3 tablespoons whole milk (or soy milk)
- Optional: 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Optional: salt to taste (sea salt or kosher salt)
- Optional: black pepper (freshly ground, to taste)
- Optional: good-quality olive oil
- Optional: freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
- Drain pasta well and then return it to the pot over low heat.
- Add the fresh spinach, stirring to combine, then add the ricotta cheese and the milk using a spatula to gently break up the ricotta cheese.
- Stir in the optional garlic powder and season well with salt and pepper.
- Once the spinach has wilted and the ricotta cheese has broken down (this should take just a few minutes), drizzle with a bit of optional olive oil and top it all off with a bit of optional freshly grated Parmesan cheese. This dish is best served immediately.
Make This Dish Vegan/Gluten-Free
If you or your family is vegan, don't count this tasty recipe out. Just substitute the ricotta cheese, whole milk, and optional Parmesan cheese with dairy alternatives. There are so many good-quality products out there, you can still enjoy this dish without sacrificing flavor.
If gluten is the culprit in your diet, substitute gluten-free pasta and make sure all the other ingredients are gluten-free and have been prepared in a gluten-free manufacturing environment.