Calabrian Ricotta & Orecchiette with Spinach & Zucchini

Calabrian Ricotta & Orecchiette

with Spinach & Zucchini

25 MIN
2 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

For this quick-cooking pasta, we’re tossing together verdant zucchini and spinach with tender half shells of orecchiette pasta and a seasoned tomato sauce. To add creamy texture and pleasant heat in each bite, we’re topping it all with smooth ricotta mixed with Calabrian chile paste—a specialty product made of fragrant red chiles from Calabria, a region in southern Italy.

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Dietary Information

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Vegetarian
  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    620 Cals (est.)
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fresh
ingredients
Calabrian Ricotta & Orecchiette with Spinach & Zucchini
Title
time-saving
tips & techniques
Prepare the ingredients & make the spicy ricotta:
1 Prepare the ingredients & make the spicy ricotta:

Fill a medium pot 3/4 of the way up with salted water; cover and heat to boiling  on high. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Halve the zucchini lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise. Peel and thinly slice the shallot. Peel and roughly chop 2 cloves of garlic. Grate the Grana Padano on the small side of a box grater. In a bowl, combine the ricotta, half the grated Grana Padano, a drizzle of  olive oil, and as much of the chile paste as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Season with salt and pepper. 

Cook the pasta:
2 Cook the pasta:

Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 9 to  11 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Turn off the heat. Reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, drain thoroughly and return to the pot.  

Cook the vegetables:
3 Cook the vegetables:

Meanwhile, in a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the sliced zucchini in an even layer. Cook, without stirring, 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the spinach; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to  2 minutes, or until wilted. Transfer to a bowl. Wipe out the pan. 

Make the sauce:
4 Make the sauce:

In the same pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the sliced shallot, chopped garlic, and oregano; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened. Add the tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined. Add 1/2 cup of water (carefully, as the liquid may splatter); season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until combined. Turn off  the heat. 

Finish the pasta & serve your dish:
5 Finish the pasta & serve your dish:

To the pot of cooked pasta, add the cooked vegetables, sauce, and  half the reserved pasta cooking water. Cook on medium-high, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the pasta is coated (if necessary, gradually add the remaining cooking water to ensure the pasta is thoroughly coated). Turn off the heat. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve the finished pasta topped with the spicy ricotta. Garnish with the remaining grated Grana Padano. Enjoy!  

Tips from Home Chefs

Prepare the ingredients & make the spicy ricotta:
1 Prepare the ingredients & make the spicy ricotta:

Fill a medium pot 3/4 of the way up with salted water; cover and heat to boiling  on high. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Halve the zucchini lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise. Peel and thinly slice the shallot. Peel and roughly chop 2 cloves of garlic. Grate the Grana Padano on the small side of a box grater. In a bowl, combine the ricotta, half the grated Grana Padano, a drizzle of  olive oil, and as much of the chile paste as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Season with salt and pepper. 

2 Cook the pasta:

Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 9 to  11 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Turn off the heat. Reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, drain thoroughly and return to the pot.  

Cook the pasta:
Cook the vegetables:
3 Cook the vegetables:

Meanwhile, in a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the sliced zucchini in an even layer. Cook, without stirring, 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the spinach; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to  2 minutes, or until wilted. Transfer to a bowl. Wipe out the pan. 

4 Make the sauce:

In the same pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the sliced shallot, chopped garlic, and oregano; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened. Add the tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined. Add 1/2 cup of water (carefully, as the liquid may splatter); season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until combined. Turn off  the heat. 

Make the sauce:
Finish the pasta & serve your dish:
5 Finish the pasta & serve your dish:

To the pot of cooked pasta, add the cooked vegetables, sauce, and  half the reserved pasta cooking water. Cook on medium-high, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the pasta is coated (if necessary, gradually add the remaining cooking water to ensure the pasta is thoroughly coated). Turn off the heat. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve the finished pasta topped with the spicy ricotta. Garnish with the remaining grated Grana Padano. Enjoy!  

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