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FETTUCCINI PRIMAVERA IN RICOTTA SAUCE

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, chopped

8-ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 small zucchini,

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons Dish off the Block Ciao Bella Italian Spice Blend

½ cup dry white wine

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half if large

2 cups baby spinach leaves, packed

1-pound fettuccini or other pasta, cooked al dente to package directions (Reserve 2 cups of the pasta water for sauce)

2 cups ricotta cheese (store-bought or homemade recipe below)

½ cup parmesan (plus more for sprinkling on the finished dish)

Basil leaves for garnish

 

Instructions

Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium high heat.  Cook the onions and garlic until soft and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the mushrooms, zucchini, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to the pan and continue to cook, stirring frequently for 4-5 minutes more until the mushrooms release their moisture and zucchini is soft and begins to lightly brown.

Add the white wine and tomatoes to the pan and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes, letting the wine boil and reduce.  Add the spinach, pasta, and ½ cup of the pasta water to the pan and continue to cook, stirring vigorously until the spinach is wilted and a sauce begins to form.

Add the ricotta, parmesan, and another ½ cup of the pasta water to the pan and toss to fully coat the pasta with the creamy sauce.  Add more pasta water as needed to make the sauce creamier (this will depend partly on the thickness of your ricotta).

 

Serve garnished with basil leaves and more parmesan.

 

HOMEMADE RICOTTA CHEESE

4 cups whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 tablespoons white  vinegar

Pour the milk and cream into a large pot. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in the salt.  Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand for 20-30 minutes until it curdles. It will separate into thick parts (the curds) and milky parts (the whey).

Pour the mixture into a cheesecloth-lined sieve or strainer, in the sink or over a large bowl (with plenty of room under the sieve to drain).  Allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for at least 1 hour, occasionally discarding the liquid that collects in the bowl. The longer you let the mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta. (I tend to like mine on the thicker side and let it sit for up to 2-3 hours). Depending on the size of the holes in your strainer, you may need to gently stir the cheese occasional to help the liquid to drain out.

When the ricotta has reached the desired consistency, transfer to a clean bowl, discarding the cheesecloth and any remaining whey. Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (it will also get thicker in the fridge). The ricotta will keep refrigerated for 4 to 5 days.

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