Here in Oregon, spring has arrived. We are frosted pink. The weather is mercurial. Sunshine switches to torrential downpour and back to sunshine in a matter of minutes. We are rewarded with rainbows.
I am loving the longer days where daylight stretches into the dinner hour, but would rather leave time for an evening walk than spend time in the kitchen. This week, I wanted to share a quick and simple pasta recipe that can be made ahead of time, comes together quickly and takes advantage of either hardy winter or early spring greens.
I have been making this recipe for at least 10 years, and I can no longer remember where I first found the idea. In our family, we call it “green sauce”, and it is simply greens blended with ricotta which we toss with pasta. It is an excellent way to use up greens that have become a bit wilted or those you find tough or strongly-flavored. I have used everything from beet greens to chard to kale in this recipe. The ricotta and the blending really mellow out even bitter greens, making it very kid-friendly. I make the sauce in advance when I know I will have to throw together a dinner quickly, store it in the fridge, and just toss it with pasta at the last minute.
We serve ours with Parmesan, lemon wedges, and toasted sliced almonds. In the summer, it is great topped with fresh tomatoes.
Pasta with “Green Sauce”
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups washed and chopped greens of your choice (some stems are fine!)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup whole milk ricotta (good quality, full-fat ricotta makes a difference here)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound pasta of your choice
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a skillet large enough to hold the greens (although, they will cook down quickly). Add garlic, cook for a minute and then add greens, tossing to coat with oil. Allow greens to cook down, adding water or broth if necessary, until wilted, but still truly green. Transfer greens to a blender or food processor and add ricotta, lemon zest and generous amounts of salt and pepper. Blend until smooth and uniform. Taste and adjust seasoning. Store until ready for use, and then toss with hot pasta and serve.
A few past posts that might be fun to revisit this week: