Hey, look! It’s my first actual pasta post. It’s long overdue. I’ve gotten quite a few requests for pasta recipes. You asked for it, you’re gonna get it. I will bombard you all with a ton of (healthy) pasta recipes.
Pasta’s a staple in all college kitchens(please refer to my list of staple pantry items). Ditch the spaghetti once in a while. It’s not difficult to toss some cheese and vegetables with pasta — it’s really a matter of using a few excellent ingredients to let the ingredients shine. I came up with this recipe when I wanted to get rid of the ricotta cheese in my fridge by dolloping it on something. Well, that something just happened to be mezzi rigatoni, which is a short tube of pasta that is just perfect to stab with a fork. Each fresh dollop of ricotta adds a cold creamy coolness …it’ll forever make you consider using ricotta instead of Parmesan as a garnish.
I also had a ton of sun-dried tomatoes. (yup, I definitely have way too many dried tomatoes after I made too many dang oven-dried tomatoes recently. luckily, they store well) Basil was also on hand, and I thought, hell, let’s deconstruct the sun-dried tomato pesto and make a pasta dish out of it. Of course, if you have left-over chicken, spinach, walnuts, Parmesan cheese, or even peas, toss them all in this versatile dish.
The twist to this pasta dish is the light white wine sauce that coats each bite of pasta. The absolute worst thing you can do with pasta is not give it enough flavor or sauce. Goodness. How many dry pasta dishes have we all had? Well, enough is enough. I’ll show you how to make a simple light sauce that knocks the boredom out of pasta dishes.
Check it, dude. Here’s what you need:
Any small stabbable (sp?) pasta like mezzi rigatoni, sun-dried tomatoes, tons of fresh basil leaves, butter, flour, garlic, and ricotta. Don’t forget the ricotta! It’s m-a-n-d-a-t-o-r-y.
Dump 1/2 a box of mezzi rigatoni (1/2 a pound) to a pot of boiling water that has been lightly salted. When I say lightly salted, I mean about 1-2 tablespoons of salt. This amount of pasta will make 4 servings.
la da da .. da. da. I hate waiting for pasta to cook. So, let’s get started on the sauce. Get 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon of flour, and throw the two in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Ahem, excuse the large heap of butter. I realize that is not 1 tablespoon. Do as I say, not as I do.
Mix it all around! Let the flour and butter cook for, like, 30 seconds.
Now add some broth to the skillet. I am using chicken broth. You can totally add vegetable broth.
Add some white wine. My favorite. Goodness, does that look like a waterfall of white wine, or what? Can you even imagine?
Chop up some garlic cloves, please.
Throw it in the sauce.
Add some crushed red chili flakes. Oh, don’t be shy. But, omit it if you must…
Add some salt. Now remember your pasta is cookin’ in salted water, so don’t go too crazy here. Taste the sauce for seasoning.
Add some pepper, too. Salt ‘n peppa are inseparable.
The sauce will look like this after 2-3 minutes. If it’s too thick, here’s what you do:
So after 8 minutes of cooking, your pasta is pretty dang al dente. I want you to reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid, and then drain the pasta.
Now dump the drained pasta immediately into the sauce. If it’s too thick, here’s where you add the pasta cooking liquid you reserved. Start with 1/4 cup, and if that’s not enough, go up to 1/2 but no more. I need you to stir the pasta around and let the pasta absorb the sauce and continue cooking. The sauce may look too thin, but trust me, the starch in the pasta will thicken the sauce just perfectly. So just stir the pasta around occasionally for 2-3 minutes ’til the sauce has been absorbed, the pasta is cooked, and all is good in life.
some a lot of basil.
Chop up the sun-dried tomatoes, too. Do they look familiar? I hope they do, I made them last week =D
Now after your pasta has soaked up all that delicious white wine sauce, dump in the sun-dried tomatoes and basil.
Plop a serving on a lucky plate.
We. Aren’t. Done! Dollop some cold, creamy ricotta cheese on top. A few spoonfuls here and there. Ya know… til it looks satisfying enough to devour immédiatement.
Zesty Rigatoni with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Ricotta Cheese
Total time: 15 minutes
Prep: 3 min
Cook: 12 min
Yield: 4 servings
½ pound dried rigatoni pasta (1/2 a box)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth (substitutes: vegetable broth)
1/3 cup white wine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 to ¼ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
½ cup whole milk ricotta cheese
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Reserve ½ cup of pasta cooking liquid. Drain pasta and do not rinse with water.
While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add butter and flour, and whisk together until no lumps remain. Cook butter and flour for 30 seconds, whisking constantly to prevent it from burning. Add white wine and chicken broth to pan and continue whisking until sauce is bubbling, about 2-3 minutes. Add in minced garlic, crushed red chili flakes, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper, or more to taste. Add pasta to sauce, stirring occasionally, and allow pasta to finish cooking, about 2-3 minutes. Add ¼ cup of pasta cooking liquid to loosen the sauce, or add up to ½ cup if sauce is too thick. Sauce should only lightly coat noodles.
Stir in chopped sun-dried tomatoes and chopped basil leaves. Spoon heaping spoonfuls of ricotta cheese on surface of pasta, allowing ricotta to rest on top of pasta without stirring the cheese around. Serve immediately.