Simple Pasta with Ricotta, Spinach, & Tomatoes

August 16, 2011 at 10:41 pm 4 comments

I’ve been trying to find an easy way to combine two of my favorite foods – spinach and ricotta cheese – into one dish. I recently tried just cooking a pound of pasta and mixing it with a container of ricotta (15 oz) and a thawed bag of frozen spinach (I think 11 oz). It was okay, but not really something I’d make again unless I needed to use up the ingredients or something. I wanted to come up with something more flavorful that used fresh ingredients.

Also, one thing that really bothers me when I’m looking at other recipes is that they often use what appear to be arbitrary amounts of food. It’ll be like, “2 cups pasta” or “3/4 cup chopped tomatoes.” This bugs me, because if I’m only buying an ingredient to make this recipe, then I have to come up with other ways to use it. It would be useful if I bought ingredients in bulk, but since I usually cook for just two or one people, I’m unlikely to use up everything if  purchase too much. So, whenever possible, I try to make my recipes use up an entire container of something, or at least an intuitive amount that’s easy to measure, so you have enough left over to make something good. For this, I used up the whole containers of the tomatoes, spinach, and ricotta, and half the container of pasta.

I just threw this pasta dish together tonight. It took about 45 minutes from turning the stove on to when I finished eating it (we were pretty hungry – I even forgot to take a picture). Both the boyfriend and I enjoyed it, and we will definitely make it again in the future. He suggested using less cheese to bump down the calories & fat; I’d suggest using more pasta instead, so you have extra for leftovers. I’d also like to use more spinach in the future, to make it more nutritious.

I can’t remember where I got the idea to pour the pasta over the raw vegetables in the colander, but I liked it – it wilted the spinach and heated the tomatoes up with very little effort from me. I also came up with an idea that is new to me: instead of chopping fresh garlic, sauteeing it, and adding it to the sauce, I just sliced a clove up and threw it into the pot to cook with the pasta. Much quicker and easier! It added a slight hint of garlic flavor to the overall dish, but the cooked slices of garlic were VERY tasty. I will definitely try this again with more garlic cloves.

Also: I just figured out last week that when you’ve just eaten something with cheese in it, you should rinse &scrub the pot/bowl/utensils with COLD water instead of hot to get the cheese off. Am I a genius for coming up with this, or an idiot for not having realized this sooner? I can’t decide. I guess this is like the opposite of a pro-tip. Amateur-tip?

(Update: I also made two variations of this recipe: one with chevre and one with fresh mozzarella.)


Simple Pasta with Ricotta, Spinach, & Tomatoes

– 1/2 pound short pasta (I used whole wheat orecchiette from Earth Fare)
– 1 pint grape tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes)
– 6 oz baby spinach
– 15 oz ricotta cheese
– 1 clove garlic (or more)
– salt and pepper

 – pot for cooking pasta in
– colander
– cutting board & knife

1) Fill the pot with water and set it to boil.
2) While water comes to a boil, slice all of the tomatoes in half (or thirds, or quarters). Put the tomatoes and spinach in the colander and place it in the sink, over the drain (or wherever you would normally drain your pasta).
3) Slice up the garlic (in pieces that are large enough not to fall through the colander’s holes) and add it to the pasta water.
4) When water is boiling, cook pasta according to package directions/taste.
5) When pasta is ready, pour it carefully into the colander. The spinach will wilt slightly. Let it sit for a minute or two and shake as much water out as you can.
6) Pour everything from the colander back into the pot. Stir it so it’s well mixed and the spinach is evenly distributed.
7) Add the cheese to the pasta mixture and stir so it’s evenly coated. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Entry filed under: cheese, one-dish, pasta, recipes, ricotta, spinach, tomatoes, vegetarian.

Broccoli, Cheese, & Quinoa Casserole Simple Pasta with Chevre, Spinach, and Tomatoes

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. beinggrownup  |  August 17, 2011 at 3:55 am

    I really like the simplicity of this. I never would have thought to put the spinach and tomatoes in the colander and I really like the garlic idea as well. Did the ricotta get lumpy/grainy as the dish cooled? That usually ends up being my problem when I cook with it.

  • 2. Audrey  |  August 17, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    I didn’t have any lumpiness/graininess issues with the ricotta. However, we did eat it almost immediately, so it didn’t have much time to cool :)

    But I used full-fat ricotta, so it was VERY creamy in texture. I normally use part-skim or low-fat ricotta when I cook (and have even used fat-free when it was the only kind available at the store) and those tended to get much grainier as they cooled. I don’t mind the lumpy texture, so I’ll probably use a lower-fat version in the future. Hope that helps!

  • […] revisited the pasta recipe I made up that had spinach, tomatoes, and ricotta in it – but instead of ricotta, I just used between 4 and 5 oz of chevre (I’m not good […]

  • […] right. I made a THIRD variation on this recipe (see the second version here). I think this one is the best yet (although I’m sure the chevre […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


This is a cooking blog by someone who is not particularly good at cooking. I'm a lazy person who aspires to make simple, awesome, healthy food at home.


%d bloggers like this: