Easy Ricotta and Spinach Pasta, my Grandmother’s Recipe

Easy Ricotta and Spinach Pasta

Easy Ricotta and Spinach Pasta, the recipe my grandmother taught me. Typically vegetarian, ricotta and spinach pasta is a delicious and versatile dish that is made with just a few simple ingredients. Easy to prepare, it is definitely a recipe to be enjoyed in any season, whether hot or cold. Serve it during festive occasions, and you will certainly leave your guests very satisfied.


Ricotta and Spinach Pasta recipe brings back such fond memories of family gatherings at her house. I can still picture her in the kitchen, putting it all together with such care and love. The flavors just transported me right back to my childhood.

This has always been a favorite dish to serve for special occasions. It’s rich and comforting, but not too heavy or rich. The creamy ricotta and fresh spinach are such a lovely complement to the pasta. Everyone always asks for seconds!

You really can’t go wrong with this one. The ingredients are so simple to find, but it tastes like you spent all day in the kitchen. I promise your guests will be raving about it for weeks to come. People are always shocked when I tell them how fast it comes together. It’s the perfect crowd-pleaser. So dig out your favorite pasta shape and give it a try. I’m sure it will become a new tradition for your family, too.

Ricotta and Spinach Pasta: The Ingredients

Easy Ricotta and Spinach Pasta recipe ingredients

The ingredients for this recipe are few and simple: you’re sure to have most of them in your kitchen already, and the rest are easily found at any grocery store. You won’t need much for this one!

  • Pasta like Penne, Fusilli, Rigatoni
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Spinach – Fresh or frozen. Using frozen spinach instead of fresh spinach in a ricotta and spinach pasta recipe is quite simple and can be very convenient, as frozen spinach is often already chopped and blanched
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Garlic
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Ground nutmeg

How to Make a Creamy Ricotta and Spinach Pasta

Watch the video recipe:

Prepare the Pasta

The first thing we need to do is cook the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside, reserving about 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water for later. While the pasta is cooking, let’s prep our other ingredients.

Prepare the Spinach

While the pasta is cooking, chop up that spinach so it’s ready to go. If you use frozen spinach, while the pasta is cooking, thaw it. You can do this by using a microwave. Once it’s thawed, use a clean kitchen towel or your hands to squeeze out as much excess moisture as possible. This step is crucial to prevent your dish from becoming watery.

Cook the Garlic

Now take a large frying pan and heat up some olive oil over a medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add in the garlic. Sauté the garlic for just a minute until fragrant.

Add the Spinach

Add the spinach to the pan with the garlic. Cook the spinach for a couple of minutes until it starts to wilt and soften up a bit, around 2–3 minutes should do the trick. If you are using frozen spinach, cook for a few minutes to remove any remaining moisture and to allow the flavors to meld.

Cooking pasta
Chopping spinach
Frying spinach with garlic

Combine with Ricotta

Reduce the heat to low and remove the garlic. Add the ricotta cheese to the pan. Stir until the ricotta is heated through and becomes creamy. Use a spatula or spoon to mix it all together until well combined. You can add a bit of the reserved pasta water here to help create a smoother sauce.

Mix with Pasta

By now, the pasta should be just about done. Reduce the heat under the frying pan to low. Add the drained pasta into the pan and toss everything together until the pasta is well-coated with the spinach and ricotta mixture. At this point, you can start adding some of that reserved pasta water, a splash at a time. This will help create a creamy sauce. Just keep adding small amounts and mixing until you reach your desired consistency.

Season the Mixture

Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg if desired. Once the sauce looks good, add in the Parmesan cheese and give it one last mix.

Garnish and Serve

Serve the pasta hot. Dish it all out into serving bowls. Top each portion with a little extra Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of ground nutmeg. Now enjoy your delicious pasta dish!

Add ricotta to the spinach
Add pasta to the ricotta spinach sauce
Season with salt, black, pepper, nutmeg and parmesan

My Tips for a Perfect Pasta Ricotta Spinach Dish

Ricotta and spinach pasta is a very simple dish to prepare. Despite everything, it can hide some pitfalls. Here are some tips so you don’t make any mistakes when preparing this recipe

Watery Sauce: Spinach releases water when it cooks, which can make your pasta dish too runny. Be sure to thoroughly drain the cooked spinach and squeeze out as much water as possible. For the ricotta, if it’s particularly wet, let it drain through a fine sieve or cheesecloth.

Undercooked Spinach: If using fresh spinach, make sure it’s cooked down and tender before adding it to the pasta. If it’s still tough, it can make the dish feel incomplete.

Bland Taste: Ricotta and spinach both have subtle flavors and can be quite bland if not seasoned properly. To enhance the taste, ensure you’re adding enough salt, pepper, and perhaps a bit of nutmeg to the ricotta mixture. Fresh herbs, sautéed garlic, or lemon zest can also add layers of flavor.

Easy Ricotta and Spinach Pasta

With Which Wine Should You Serve Ricotta and Spinach Pasta?

Pairing wine with ricotta and spinach pasta can elevate your dining experience quite a bit. Since this dish is creamy and has a mild flavor profile, you’ll want a wine that complements those qualities without overpowering them. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Sauvignon Blanc: A crisp and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc can work well with the light and creamy textures of the ricotta and spinach pasta. Its acidity can cut through the richness, while its herbal notes can complement the spinach nicely.
  2. Pinot Grigio: Another great option is a light and zesty Pinot Grigio. Its citrusy brightness can balance the creaminess of the ricotta, and it’s generally a versatile wine that pairs well with a variety of pasta dishes.
  3. Vermentino: This white wine from Italy is often characterized by its aromatic, crisp, and slightly nutty profile, which can align well with the creamy pasta and the vegetal notes of the spinach.
  4. Chardonnay: If you prefer a fuller-bodied white, an unoaked Chardonnay can be a delightful pairing. Its inherent creaminess and hints of citrus can synchronize with the dish without overwhelming it. However, it’s best to avoid heavily oaked Chardonnays, as the strong oak flavors might clash with the dish.
  5. Gavi: Made from Cortese grapes, Gavi is an Italian white wine that offers a good balance of acidity and mineral notes, making it a pleasant match for the pasta.
  6. Dry Rosé: A dry rosé can also be a lovely accompaniment to ricotta and spinach pasta. It’s light enough not to overpower the dish but can have enough character to stand up to the richness of the ricotta.
Easy Ricotta and Spinach Pasta

Easy Ricotta and Spinach Pasta, my Grandmother’s Recipe (VIDEO)

Typically vegetarian, ricotta and spinach pasta is a delicious and versatile dish that is made with just a few simple ingredients. Easy to prepare, it is definitely a recipe to be enjoyed in any season, whether hot or cold. Serve it during festive occasions, and you will certainly leave your guests very satisfied.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course First course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 320 g pasta Penne, Fusilli, Rigatoni
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 600 g spinach
  • Salt and pepper
  • 250 g ricotta
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • Ground nutmeg

Instructions
 

  • Cook pasta according to package instructions, ensuring it reaches an “al dente” texture. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the other ingredients.
  • Finely chop the fresh spinach leaves.
  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped garlic to the oil and sauté for 30 seconds until just aromatic.
  • Add the chopped spinach and continue cooking for 2–3 minutes, or until the spinach has wilted, and any liquid has evaporated. Remove the skillet from heat.
  • Add the ricotta cheese to the skillet with the spinach and garlic. Use a rubber spatula to thoroughly combine the ricotta into the mixture. Season with salt, black pepper and ground nutmeg, to taste.
  • Drain the cooked pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water.
  • Return the skillet to medium-low heat. Add the drained pasta directly to the skillet. Toss the pasta through the ricotta sauce to evenly coat each strand. If needed to thin the sauce, add some of the reserved pasta cooking water, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, until a creamy consistency is reached.
  • Remove the skillet from heat and transfer the pasta and ricotta sauce to a serving dish or individual plates. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top and serve immediately.

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