Pasta with Ricotta and Spinach (4)

A creamy and zesty pasta from Claire Thomson.

Pasta with Ricotta and Spinach (4)
Print Recipe
Pasta with Ricotta and Spinach (4)
Print Recipe
  1. Cook the pasta in well salted water as per the packet instructions, shaving two minutes off the cook time; you want it very al dente. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pasta, leaving the boiling water in the pan, and spread the pasta shapes out, open side down, on a large plate to drain sufficiently.
  2. Briefly blanch the spinach in the pasta cooking water for one minute, drain, allow to cool a bit and squeeze well to remove excess water.Preheat the oven to 210C/190C fan/gas mark 6.
  3. Use the raw garlic clove to wipe round the base of a baking dish measuring approximately 30cm round.
  4. Arrange the well drained pasta shells, open side up, in a single layer nestled tight alongside each other. Distribute the spinach amongst the open shells, stuffing it in as best you can.
  5. Begin making the béchamel. In a pan over a moderate heat, melt the butter in a saucepan, then whisk in the flour and cook for 30 seconds until it bubbles a little and begins to fur a little on the base of the pan.
  6. Slowly whisk in the milk, bring back up to the boil, vigorously whisking all the time, then reduce the heat and continue to cook for around five minutes, until the mixture has thickened and is glossy and smooth.
  7. Remove from the heat and stir in half the parmesan, half a teaspoon of salt and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Set to one side, whisking every now and then to avoid a skin forming.
  8. In a small mixing bowl, add the ricotta, basil, lemon, nutmeg and chilli adding salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Mix well to combine. Spoon blobs of this mixture fairly evenly over the cooked pasta and spinach.
  9. Pour the béchamel over the pasta, spinach and ricotta and the remaining parmesan. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown on top and bubbling. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for five minutes before serving.
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