Monday, February 9, 2009

Ricotta Cheese: Pasta and Cannoli

Here are two simple but delicious recipes where Ricotta cheese is the main ingredient. Ricotta is much lighter than real cheese as it has only 5% of fat. The first recipe is a pasta sauce. This is the very first thing I made for my wife even before we were dating. I guess it wasn't too bad after all!


- 1 lb pasta (penne or bow ties)
- 15 oz Ricotta cheese
- 3-4 cups fresh spinach leaves (or 1 1/2 cups frozen)
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 bouillon cube
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- garlic powder, nutmeg, black pepper to taste

Boil pasta in abundant salted water until al dente. In large sauce pan, add a small amount of water and the fresh spinach leaves. When leaves are cooked and water evaporated, add butter. Add Ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Cook on low/medium heat and continue to stir. Add a dash of each of the spices and the bouillon cube. For a creamer sauce, place in the blender for few seconds. Drain pasta and pour the sauce in. Even my kids thought it was delicious!!


Cannoli (plural) are a typical southern Italian dessert (from Sicily). Last week as I was buying ingredients for a Tiramisu at a local Italian grocery store, I also found a box of Cannoli shells (I bought mine at Granato's, but you can also order them online at Ferrara) and did not resist the temptation of making some for this Sunday's dessert. The recipe is quite simple (for six Cannoli shells):

- 15 oz Ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup powder sugar
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 2-3 oz chocolate chips
- dash of cinnamon

Crumble the chocolate chips in a food processor. Mix sugar and ricotta cheese in a bowl with a fork. Add chocolate chips, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix well until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Fill the Cannoli shells with a small spoon. Sprinkle some powder sugar on the top and...enjoy!

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