Let me start by saying that I would eat the Los Angeles Times (Sunday Edition) if you spread enough Ricotta over the top. Well, maybe all but the sports section. Anyhow, this was a delicious, easy and colorful dish that I whipped up for company on short notice. Keep this one (and, of course, your own variations) in your arsenal for good, quick eats.
Total kitchen time: 35 minutes
Makes: Op-Ed taste like Home & Garden for 4 lovely readers
- dried pappardelle noodles (really, just get as much as it looks like you’ll need. Unlike smaller noodles, the cooked yield isn’t deceptively larger than the dried volume.)
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 12 cups baby spinach (to yield about 1 1/2 cups wilted)
- 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
- 4 slices proscuitto
- 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat your oven (or toaster oven) to 400°F and place the top rack about three quarters of the way up.
- Boil at least a gallon of lightly salted water in the largest pot you have. This will take some time to boil, so I’ve put it here in step 2 for you. I know, what would you do without me?
- Toss the sweet potato cubes with 1 tbsp. of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet and roast until tender and just starting to get golden corners, about 20 minutes. Set aside.
- In a large skillet or a griddle over medium heat, lightly fry each piece of proscuitto until crispy. This will only take a minute or two per side, so keep a close watch. Since proscuitto typically doesn’t come in packages of 4, you can always pretend that you overcooked a slice and sneak a bite when nobody is looking. It will be our secret. Once you’re done with your shameful crisping, set the proscuitto aside on paper towels.
- Now, cook the pasta. This will take 15-20 minutes, so proceed to the next step while you’re waiting. Hey look, we’re multitasking!
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, wilt the spinach until just done. Be sure that the amount of spinach is not too great for the size of the pan – you want a lot of room for the moisture to cook off, otherwise you’ll end up with gritty, watery greens. Bad stuff.
- In a large bowl, toss the pasta with 3 tbsp. of olive oil and salt a pepper to taste. Add in the ricotta, sweet potatoes and spinach. If you want, crumble in the fried proscuitto, or just serve it to the side like a ham wafer. Yum!
That’s it, folks. An unapologetically simple and easy meal. If you felt this was too straightforward, serve only a small portion of the pasta aside duck confit with a balsamic reduction, jerk.