Easy Spinach Ricotta Pasta
I looove ricotta cheese. It’s flavor is light and fresh flavor, making it great for warm weather dishes. I’ve tried making my own fresh ricotta in the past, but I haven’t yet been able to achieve the texture or flavor that I like. So, when I saw ricotta on sale at the store, I jumped at the chance to make this recipe for Spinach Ricotta Pasta that has been swimming around in the back of my head for a while.
This recipe makes a super quick garlic ricotta sauce that only takes minutes to prepare. I added my favorite versatile vegetable, frozen spinach, to help get a little green and fiber into the meal. If you’re not into spinach, you could try frozen broccoli florets, but I’d make sure to chop them up into smaller pieces before adding them in.
This recipe makes about four side dish sized servings (2 oz. of pasta each), but you could beef it up by adding some chicken, or even more vegetables (any grilled vegetable would be awesome with this). Want a little deeper flavor? Try topping it off with some Parmesan. Personally, I liked the light, fresh flavor that ricotta on its own.
And one last note: all ricotta is not equal. I’ve had some brands that are so good I could eat it with a spoon and others that are just dry and tasteless. It may take some experimenting to find one that you really like. And for this recipe in particular, full fat ricotta is definitely best (lower fat ricotta can sometimes be gritty).
Prep time 10 mins
Cook time 20 mins
Total time 30 mins
Total Cost: $3.16 Cost Per Serving: $0.79 Serves: 4
- ½ lb. uncooked fettuccine $0.75
- 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
- 2 cloves garlic $0.16
- ½ cup milk $0.24
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta $1.22
- ¼ tsp salt $0.02
- Freshly cracked pepper $0.05
- ¼ lb. frozen chopped spinach $0.40
- Place the frozen spinach in a colander to thaw while you work on the past and sauce.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then add the pasta. Let the pasta boil until al dente, then drain in a colander. Reserve about ½ cup of the pasta cooking water to help loosen the sauce later if needed.
- While the pasta is boiling, prepare the ricotta sauce. Mince the garlic and add it to a large skillet with the olive oil. Cook over medium-low heat for 1-2 minutes, or just until soft and fragrant (but not browned). Add the milk and ricotta, then stir until relatively smooth (the ricotta may be slightly grainy). Allow the sauce to heat through and come to a low simmer. The sauce will thicken slightly as it simmers. Once it's thick enough to coat the spoon (3-5 minutes), season with salt and pepper.
- Squeeze the thawed spinach to remove as much excess water as possible (squeeze it in your fist), then add it to the ricotta sauce. Stir until the spinach is distributed throughout the sauce. Taste and adjust salt or pepper if needed. Turn the heat off.
- Add the cooked and drained pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. If the sauce becomes to thick or dry, add a small amount of the reserved pasta cooking water. Serve warm.
Step by Step Photos
Once the pasta is done cooking, drain it in a colander, but save about 1/2 cup of the cooking water to help loosen the sauce later if needed.