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Fusilli with Fresh Spinach & Ricotta

Judi Rutz

Servings: six.

Fusilli works best here, but a short, ridged pasta like penne rigate would also work well.


  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 to 1 lb. young spinach, trimmed, washed, and dried well
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 small scallions, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese, preferably fresh
  • 1 cup half-and-half or light cream
  • Pinch nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 lb. dried fusilli
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 510
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 180
  • Fat (g): 20
  • Saturated Fat (g): 10
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7
  • Cholesterol (mg): 50
  • Sodium (mg): 650
  • Carbohydrates (g): 59
  • Fiber (g): 5
  • Protein (g): 21


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add about 1 Tbs. salt.
  • Stack several leaves of spinach at a time and cut them crosswise into 1/4-inch strips. You should have about 8 packed cups of shredded spinach.
  • In a very large pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the scallions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach and a pinch of salt and pepper into the pan. Cover and steam the spinach until it’s wilted but still bright green, about 5 minutes, stirring as needed to cook the spinach evenly.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the ricotta, half-and-half, and nutmeg, if using, until smooth. Stir the ricotta mixture and the butter into the spinach and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, stir the fusilli into the boiling water and cover the pot. When the water returns to a boil, uncover the pot. Cook the pasta, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 12 minutes.
  • Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Drain the pasta well and return it to its pot over low heat. Add the spinach mixture and enough of the reserved cooking liquid to make a sauce that lightly coats the pasta. Toss thoroughly. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the grated cheese. Transfer the pasta to a warm serving platter or individual bowls and serve.


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Reviews (2 reviews)

  • User avater
    sittapygmaea | 06/10/2010

    This pasta basically tastes just like the traditional spinach-ricotta ravioli inside out, and is much faster to make. It seems like it would appeal to children (past the "ick-- green stuff" phase), but has an appealing, comfort food quality for adults with nice fresh ingredients. Following the previous reviewer's advice, I used this amount of sauce for 8 oz. pasta, which made a very tasty but somewhat decadent dish (I wouldn't want to use less spinach, but could definitely get away with less cream/ricotta.) I made two other changes, chopping the spinach (because i dislike stringy, large pieces of cooked spinach), and pureeing the ricotta and half/half with an immersion blender, which made a smoother base than straight up ricotta, which i preferred. The resultant sauce looked more like spinach alfredo than the drier version pictured. I will do all of these things again next time, though i will reduce the ricotta/half and half portion by perhaps a third, and stretching it with pasta water, which I anticipate will be healthier but fairly similar.

  • Chef_chelle | 07/29/2009

    This sauce is wonderful recipe that needed a couple of tweaks. I felt it needed a flavor boost and added a generous tablespoon of prepared basil pesto at the end. I also found it a bit on the dry side and added some of the pasta water and more half and half. The sauce is not enough to cover a full pound of pasta, so double the sauce, or cut the pasta amount in half.I seared scallops and served them ontop of the pasta...it was both beautiful and delicious.

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