Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Ricotta and Spinach Pasta Bake

WELL! It has certainly been a while since my last post. But hey that is okay because I have been busy doing other various things. These things include but are not limited to the following:

  • Finishing my third year at Alberta College of Art and Design
  • Going on an epic journey to do an exchange program in Glasgow, Scotland which in turn lead me to other epic journeys in Berlin, Amsterdam, Spain, London and finally Italy!!! (Is this real life?)
  • Getting a new job at a sweet little cafe in the trendy neighbourhood of Kensington. Come on down to Higher Ground! We have some delicious specialty coffees and tea mistos which I am drinking far too many of.
  • Taking a spring course to lighten the load of 4th year... Am I really going to be in FOURTH YEAR next year?? What is this madness...
  • Wearing a dress everyday in June to raise money for charity. Not a very difficult challenge for me.
  • Various other things that a 21 year old with the personality of a 60 year old would do! Cooking, reading, going to bed early etc.
But I do believe it's time for a new recipe. What do you say?



Sometimes, hardest part about coming back to something after a long time is trying to decide "where to begin"? Do I try and start from where I left off? This seems too complicated. What feels right is to just jump in from wherever. The rest will fill itself in. And let's be honest, it doesn't really matter does it! 

The key for me at the moment I think is to just keep things simple. Let us not rush in with complicated cakes and fancy new dishes... although I have some brewing don't even worry about it!

Let's be super simple and just go with what I whipped out for dinner this very evening!

Let's call it "Ricotta and Spinach Pasta Bake" and let's call it Dinner. Let's call it more often, it was gooooood.

Look at dat cheeeeeese...

This recipe was given to me by a lovely girl who was my flatmate when I was staying in Glasgow. Long story short, I was ridiculously lucky to be able to live in a flat with two other girls who wanted to share cooking and groceries duties... which makes life awesome! The two girls were Laura and Evie, and I am truly grateful for them being a part of my Glasgow Adventure.
Laura has some trusty recipes tucked up her sleeve. By sleeve I mean a book that where she writes down all her tried and true dishes, often ones from her mother.
I was lucky enough to get some of these recipes passed on to me! YES.

This particular recipe was not one that Laura ever made for me... but I happened to have ALL the ingredients for it at once, which let me tell you is a rare occasion in this household. Especially when we are talking about ricotta cheese and fresh basil. But the cheese and pasta stars aligned and it was meant to be.

We had my dear Auntie Joan over for dinner and she loved it so much she asked for the recipe. So it's safe to say it passed the test! Thank you to Laura :)

The photos are not the greatest ever, but I ain't even worried! I'm just glad to be back. :)

Ricotta and Spinach Pasta Bake
Serves 4 with leftovers
Recipe from Laura Gaiger
  • 250 grams pasta (any kind will do, I used fusilli)
  • 400 grams ricotta cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 50 g parmesan, grated
  • 15 g fresh basil, chopped
  • 125 grams spinach (I used frozen)chopped
  • about 1/2 jar pasta sauce (I used Newman's Own Marinara)
  • Mozzarella cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup?)
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until almost done, but not quite. It will continue to cook in the oven.
In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, garlic, half of the parmesan, the basil and spinach. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 375.
When the pasta is done, drain it, then add it to the bowl with the ricotta mixture. Stir.
In a large oven proof dish, spread a thin layer of sauce over the bottom. Pile on the pasta mixture, then spread another thin layer of sauce over the top. Sprinkle on the mozzarella and the remaining parmesan.
Bake for about 20-30 minutes until brown and bubbly on the top... YUMNESS!

Serve with a lovely garden salad and you have yourself a lovely but hearty veggie meal!

<3 Lari