(recipe) Gluten-Free Pasta with Ricotta Salata, Garlicky Spinach, Tomatoes, and Olives
July 11, 2013
My love for pasta knows no limit. Even in the heat of summer, I bring a pot of water to a boil to cook pasta for dinner. This recipe, which highlights fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden, comes together quickly, making it a nice dinner for busy nights.
For this pasta, I use ricotta salata. Unlike the more commonly used ricotta, which is soft and creamy, this version of ricotta is firm, almost like feta. It's a mild cheese and while it's great sliced and eaten with some bread or vegetables, I prefer it in hot dishes. For this pasta, I shred the ricotta salata and toss it together with the hot pasta. Unlike other cheeses, it doesn't really melt. Rather, it just softens, adding salty-cheesy bites that surprise you while eating. Remember the delight in getting bits of marshmallows in your cereal as a kid? The cheese is like that. Bits of goodness sprinkled throughout your serving!
If you can't find blocks of ricotta salata, use the crumbled version. If, however, you can't find it at all, replace it with either feta or fresh mozzarella. Either cheeses work well in this dish. And, if you are dairy-free, simply omit the cheese completely. The pasta tastes great with or without it.