Magazine article Sunset

It's the Cheese: Pair Low-Fat Ricotta with Pasta

Magazine article Sunset

It's the Cheese: Pair Low-Fat Ricotta with Pasta

Article excerpt

Pasta and cheese are old friends, but the kind of cheese you use makes a big nutritional difference. When tossed with hot pasta along with a little cooking water, low-fat ricotta quickly creates a healthy but rich-tasting sauce. Its mild, fresh-milk flavor is a good foil for stronger accents like peppery broccoli rabe and olives, or chard with lemon and pistachios.

Orzo with Ricotta and Broccoli Rabe

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 25 minutes

MAKES: 4 to 6 servings

  1 pound dried orzo pasta

  2 teaspoons olive oil

  2 tablespoons minced garlic

  1 teaspoon hot chili flakes

  1 pound broccoli rabe or broccoli, rinsed, ends trimmed, and coarsely

  1 container (15 oz.) low-fat ricotta cheese

1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives Salt and pepper

1. In a 5- to 6-quart pan over high heat, bring about 3 quarts water to a boil. Add orzo and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender to bite, 7 to 12 minu3tes. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups pasta-cooking water. Return orzo to pan.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic; stir until fragrant but not brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add chili flakes and broccoli rabe; stir 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1 cup of reserved water; simmer until greens are tender to bite, 6 to 8 minutes.

3. Add broccoli rabe mixture to orzo with ricotta, olives, and remaining 1/2 cup reserved water; mix, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Per serving: 410 cal., 17% (69 cal.) from fat; 19 g protein; 7. …

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