My kids love mac and cheese. Me? I get a little sick of it. This is a different take on it, and adult take – if you will, the ricotta cheese adds a nice creaminess. You may know ricotta from using it in lasagna.
Note: If your kids are like mine and don’t like ‘green things’ all up in their business, then just use chopped asparagus. At least that way they can take it out.
1 lb small pasta shells
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 clove minced garlic
1 pkg frozen spinach (thawed and drained well)
1 cup reserved pasta liquid
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmagian cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella
freshly ground pepper
Cook pasta according to package. Reserve 1 cup of the boiling pasta liquid – you’re going to need it to add to the sauce, it helps it adhere to the pasta and makes it creamy – in case you were wondering.
While the pasta is cooking, get a large skillet on the stove. Add the olive oil and the butter. Yes, both – trust me, the flavors work together. Put the heat on low and let the butter melt a little, add the garlic and stir. Watch it so it doesn’t burn!
Add the spinach (or use asparagus, like I sometimes do) and toss, turning the heat to medium. When your pasta is done, drain and quickly add to the pan. Add the ricotta, and the cheeses, right into the pan. Turn the heat up to medium high, and stir.
Add the pasta liquid and keep stirring til creamy. Salt and pepper to taste. Me? I love the bite that a lot of FRESHLY ground pepper gives, so I say be generous.
This makes a great main dish, and I usually serve the leftovers the second day as a side dish.