We were completely useless this weekend. My guy had minor surgery on Friday and was relegated to the couch for the next few days. I ran a few errands and popped out to a BBQ for a couple hours on Saturday night, but other than that we just kind of sat around. I got some knitting done, at least. Jeffrey and I are not very good at relaxing. Partly because when you run your own business you can’t help but take your work home with you, and partly because I have always been so busy with kids/work/life that now when I have time to chill out I get really antsy and think of something else I should be doing instead. I’m trying to get better at just being in those moments, chilling on the couch, letting myself relax. By five o’clock on Sunday we were in “Fuck it, let’s open a bottle of wine” mode and by dinner time I did not feel like cooking like, at all. I managed to roll my ass off the couch and put together a quicker-than-it-looks pasta. We were all pretty hungry, we had just kind of grazed all day, so I wanted to make something simple but filling. The answer, of course, is carbs and cheese.
I love a good cheese sauce, don’t get me wrong - but who wants to stand over a saucepan on a hot day for 20 minutes while the sauce comes together? Not I! And while a bechamel is mighty delicious, it’s a little heavy for summer.
The rich and creamy ricotta “sauce” on this pasta tastes too decadent to be low fat - but if you use low fat cheese, it is! I like pappardelle in this dish because the broad noodles distribute the sauce well. The vegetables were chosen because they were what I had on hand. It was great but don’t be afraid to sub out other veggies. It, like many things that I make, is an easily adaptable recipe.
quickie pic, weird lighting, apologies
Pappardelle with Summer Vegetables & Ricotta
1# pappardelle pasta (big flat noodles)
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 2” pieces
4 c torn baby spinach
1 pt grape tomatoes, halved
½ c chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil, oregano)
15 oz container low-fat good quality ricotta cheese (read your labels! some low fat ricottas contain starchy fillers that will affect the consistency of your sauce)
1T chopped fresh garlic (or less, I use a lot of garlic)
½ c white wine
¼ c olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions. Before draining, reserve ½ cup of cooking water.
Heat large saucepan or wok on high. Add olive oil, then asparagus. Saute’ for about 2 minutes until the asparagus’ color brightens. Add tomatoes and garlic. Saute’ another 2 minutes or so until tomatoes soften. Deglaze the pan with wine. Add spinach, herbs. Stir. Reduce heat to low, and add pasta, cooking water, and ricotta cheese. Stir to combine. Salt to taste. Serve with a sprinkling of grated fresh Parmesan.