Light Pasta Florentine With a Kick!

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This 20 minute pasta is light in calories but has that creaminess you want. It has some green snuck in there as well as a kick to spice up a quick weeknight dinner. These amounts make about 4-5 servings. Start to finish, this recipe only takes around 20 minutes.  The Ricotta makes this pasta almost guilt free, especially if you use part skimmed or fat free ricotta! Healthy, but still satisfying.

Ingredients

  • Pasta of your choice (I used Cavatappi)
  • 1 can of good quality diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of ricotta
  • 2 chili peppers
  • 6-7 cups of fresh spinach (you can use frozen, but squeeze all the water out of it before using)
  • 1/2 cup of Basil

First off, take a large pot and fill it with water. Turn the heat on the highest and let the water come up to a boil to cook your pasta. Salt the water heavily. In Italy, they say that your pasta water should be as salty as the sea because its the only chance you’ll get to season your actual pasta noodles. You can use whatever pasta your heart desires, but this sauce is thick and really sticks to short noodles. I would suggest a medium cut pasta. When the water comes up to a boil, add your pasta and let it cook just about 3 minutes shy of what the package instructions say. You will cook the pasta in the sauce for another 2 minutes which will finish the cooking process.

Chop up one onion and 4-5 cloves of garlic depending on how much you like. I like a lot of garlic so I added 5 cloves. I finely minced 2 red Thai chili peppers but if you like the heat, add some more. If you like less heat, only add 1. 2 was not too spicy but had a kick to it.

While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce. In a skillet on medium heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil and sweat off your onions, garlic and chili. It should take about 5 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. Next, add the can of tomatoes into the vegetables and rinse out the can with just a touch of water and add that to the skillet as well. Season with salt and pepper. Let the sauce simmer on medium to high heat until the pasta is done cooking.

When the pasta is done, drain it, but not well. Leave it slightly wet with the starchy cooking water. Add the pasta straight into the skillet. While the pasta is cooking in the sauce, add your spinach into the pasta and put the lid on it to let the spinach wilt down. Once the spinach is wilted and the pasta has cooked in the sauce until al dente (cooked, but still has a slight bite to it), take the skillet off the heat.

Now, stir in your Ricotta. You can add as much Ricotta as you’d like. 1/2 a cup will make it slightly creamy but a whole cup would definitely up up the richness. Keep stirring until the Ricotta has melted. Once the pasta is creamy and everything is well combined, fold in your fresh basil. Basil is best used fresh and not cooked down. It makes the whole dish fragrant and is a definite must in this recipe.

And thats all! I topped mine with some more freshly minced chili and basil. This recipe comes together so quickly, but is so delicious that you’ll be wanting to make it a weekly treat.

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