If I didn’t share my apartment with another human being, I would never fold my laundry. This kind of laziness begets marital discord. It also begets 20-Minute Healthy Ricotta Pasta, so I’m not changing my ways any time soon.
The washing the part of laundry doesn’t bother me. I even divide my lights and darks like my mama taught me. (I also wish she would have taught me to use bleach, because despite my load-separation diligence, my white shirts inevitably dwindle to a milky Earl Grey.)
Even using a communal, dorm-style laundry room doesn’t perturb me. What does: folding.
I will leave my laundry basket (full of clean clothes mind you) in the middle of our apartment for three days without folding it.
This might not sound like a big deal, but that rogue basket occupies 15% of the open floor space in our tiny cozy home. I’m destined trip over it in the middle of the night, break my ankle, and learn my lesson, but until then, I’m going to continue my sock-matching and T-shirt-folding procrastination.
20-Minute Healthy Ricotta Pasta is ideal for those nights when: a) You feel like procrastinating instead of cooking, b) You are in a hurry, or c) Both. It’s bursting with bright Mediterranean flavors, creamy, healthy, and easy.
This dream boat of a dish is quick and easy because it combines ingredients that require little-to-no prep work.
Frozen artichokes are cooked right in with the pasta water, roasted red bell peppers need only be drained and sliced, and our other flavor players (Dijon, red pepper flakes, capers, and basil) are simply measured and mixed.
The fairest, easiest, most delightful ingredient of them all: Part-skim ricotta cheese. Ricotta is creamy, dreamy, surprisingly affordable, and (if you choose part-skim), low in fat. I’ve been entirely obsessed with ricotta since this fabulous peach ricotta pizza and that veggie ricotta grilled cheese came into my life, and ricotta now my go-to for an easy weeknight pasta dinner.
Stir the ricotta together with the spices, pour over the warm noodles, and va-voom! A rich, robust sauce that requires no cooking and tastes absolutely decadent.
For quadruple bonus, double-dog-dare indulgence, you can use whole milk ricotta, though you do sacrifice on the health front. The choice is yours. I’ve found that both part-skim and low-fat ricotta taste great in this dish.
Of the two, the part-skim ricotta is slightly higher in fat than the “low fat” (deceptive right?), and thus a bit tastier, but both are excellent options for 20-Minute Healthy Ricotta Pasta. Just promise me you won’t use fat free ricotta—it won’t melt nearly as well. Plus, fat free cheese categorically gives me the heebie jeebies.
Now that we’ve made an easy, creamy, 20-Minute Healthy Ricotta Pasta, I want to know: what will you do with the extra time you saved? I think I’ll paint my nails, watch a rerun of Chopped, and send some snail mail.
You didn’t think I was going to fold my laundry did you?
20 Minute Ricotta Pasta
- 1 package whole wheat penne pasta (12 ounces)
- 2 package frozen artichoke hearts (9 ounce packages) thawed
- 15 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese (OK to substitute low fat or even whole milk ricotta, but do not use fat free)
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar, white balsamic vinegar, or champagne vinegar
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 jar roasted red bell peppers (12 ounces) drained and thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons capers rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. With 2 minutes remaining in the pasta cook time, add artichoke hearts. Drain, then return the artichokes and pasta to the pot.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, basil, mustard, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Pour over pasta. Add sliced red peppers, capers, and parsley. Stir pasta gently to coat. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.
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