Fusili_Ricotta_Spinach_IMG_0448This recipe comes from the latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine. Shane and I just loved it. It’s a quickie as-is, but you can cut your prep time further by purchasing the pre-washed baby spinach that comes in a box or bag, and not chopping it (see note at bottom of recipe).

• Fusili with Ricotta and Spinach •
from Cooks Illustrated Magazine

11oz (1 1/3 cups) whole milk ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1 lb fusili
1 lb baby spinach* 
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 oz (1/2 cup) grated parmesan cheese plus more for sprinking

Mix 1 cup ricotta, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Set aside

Bring a large pot of water to boil, add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water. Add the baby spinach to the pot with the pasta and stir until wilted, about 30 seconds. Drain pasta and spinach and return them to the pot.

While pasta cooks, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil, garlic, nutmeg and cayenne in a saucepan over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 1/3 cup ricotta, cream, lemon zest and juice and 3/4 teaspoon salt until smooth.

Add ricotta-cream mixture and parmesan to the pasta and spinach. Let pasta rest, tossing frequently, until the sauce has thickened slightly and coats pasta, 2-4 minutes. Adjust consistency with reserved pasta cooking water if necessary. Transfer pasta to a serving platter (or leave it in the pot if you’re feeling casual) and dot evenly with reserved ricotta mixture. Serve with additional parmesan for sprinkling.

*The recipe says to chop the spinach, but since I used the little leaves that come in a box, I didn’t chop. This also made it easier for my 6 year old to pick out the dreaded green bits.