Friday, May 7, 2010

here's to me

I have a weekly dinner date with my friend Nina, but we postponed this week because it was too hot to be hungry. We made this pasta when we rescheduled, because it's great for when you want comfort food but don't want to feel after as if there's a lead weight in your stomach. I was tempted to call it Summer Mac 'n Cheese, but then I felt like I deserved more credit, so I call it Pasta Gabrielle. That's right, I named this dish after myself.

Its conception was complete luck. At the beginning of last summer, weshop was running out of fresh food and all I managed to come away with was a small tub of ricotta, some spinach, and a container of cherry tomatoes. I was trying to cook an impressive meal for someone I really liked, so I blame the pasta's success on wanting really hard for things to go well. Sometimes when I'm happy in the kitchen things just work themselves out, even if the odds are against me.

Pasta Gabrielle
or, pasta with lemony ricotta and tomatoes

1/2 pound penne, gemelli, or a similar shape (I like to use whole wheat)
1 cup ricotta
zest of one lemon
lots salt and pepper
3 Tblsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic
10-15 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
3-4 large handfuls of baby spinach, coarsely shredded or ripped

Boil water, add pasta and cook according to package directions.

In a small bowl, mix the ricotta, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Saute garlic and tomatoes in olive oil 7-9 minutes, or until tender and beginning to lose shape.

When the pasta is ready, drain and return to pot. Add ricotta mixture and spinach leaves, mixing until the spinach is wilted. Serve in bowls, and top each serving with a spoonful of tomatoes.

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