italian food recipe: spinach and ricotta pasta

Above: 59 cents worth of spinaci and 1 euro worth of pane goes a long way in our kitchen.

A few weeks ago we went out to lunch and I had an amazing bowl of pasta -- ricotta and chopped spinach "sauce" that was absolute heaven. I'm usually too chicken to cook with ricotta, but just had to try and replicate that amazing dish.

As per the usual when we're experimenting in the kitchen, we read a handful of recipes for the particular dish we're interested in to see the similar "must include" ingredients. Then, we wing it.

The recipe


  • Half a box of shell pasta
  • 250g of spinach (one big bunch)
  • Half a white onion
  • 200g ricotta
  • Some olive oil
  • Some pecorino romano cheese (pamigagno works, too!)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Makin' Dinner: This recipe is so easy, it's crazy. Finely chop the onion and get it cooking over medium heat in about a tablespoon of olive oil. Let the onions cook for about 5-6 minutes. In the meantime, chop up the spinach and grate a bit of pecorino romano (we probably used about a 1/4 cup).

Boil water and add the shells once ready.

Toss the spinach in with the onion and let it hang out until it wilts...I think it took about 4-5 minutes for us. Then, add in the ricotta and a few minutes later the pecorino. Following the suggestion of a few different recipes that we found, we scooped out about 1/3 cup of the pasta water and added it to the sauce. It really helps improve the consistency of the sauce. Let the sauce simmer on low and get nice and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Once the shells are al dente, drain and toss with the sauce. Serve immediately and toss with a bit of pecorino.

Recipe note: A lot of recipes we saw called for scallions or shallot, but we didn't really care to search those out since they weren't readily available at the farmer's market. So, we use a small amount of onion instead...and it was delish!

P.S. Sorry for mixing metric and U.S. measuring's just how we roll now :-)