Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pesto Ricotta Pasta

This meal fits the bill for quick, tasty dinner.  You know, for those months of baseball season, when you have one in t-ball, one in coach pitch, and your husband is the coach of both teams.  Oh, that happens to you too?

If you make your pesto in advance (I usually make it in batches and keep in the fridge), this will come together really quickly.  If you don't want to make your pesto, you can easily substitute store bought.  But, really, it's so quick to make, it won't add that much work. 

I have posted a recipe before where I made pesto using spinach, which is super tasty!  You can use that here, or traditional basil pesto.  (I tend to like walnuts better in my pesto, rather than pinenuts!)

This recipe is easily made with chicken or without, both are fantastic!

Pesto Ricotta Pasta

  • 1 lb. pasta (like penne or rotini)
  • olive oil
  • 1-2 chicken breasts (if desired)
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (or more) ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup (or more) pesto
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  1. Boil your pasta according to package directions until it is al dente; drain.
  2. Meanwhile, in a skillet heat olive oil over medium heat.  If you are using chicken, dice it into bite sized pieces, season with salt and pepper, and saute over medium heat in the olive oil until cooked through.  Add garlic to pan about 2 minutes before chicken is finished---not at the beginnging or the garlic will burn.  Once the garlic is added, stir more often to keep it from burning.
  3. Add drained pasta, pesto and ricotta.  Turn heat to low.  Mix together until pesto coats all of the pasta, and the ricotta breaks down.  You can add more or less of the ricotta and pesto according to your preference.
  4. Add in parmesan cheese, and mix until slightly melted, then stir in tomatoes.  Stir just until the tomatoes are warmed through.
  5. Serve.
**This would also be good with some fresh baby spinach, just add a few handfuls at the end, and cook until it wilts. 

***Make a big batch of pesto early in the week and then use it to make quick meals like this, pesto turkey burgers, green pit-za or the pesto pasta I posted previously.  The meals won't taste the same, but will utilize the same base, which will save time, and won't waste the extra pesto!  I also have a great recipe coming using more pesto (a fun meatball slider)!  This is a great idea for the busy dinner nights, or weeks when dinner needs to be fast! 

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