Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dinner from the Farmers Market

Summer has officially arrived in the Pacific Northwest, and every day of the week, you can find a farmers market. I love my local produce stand for their vast selection and low prices, but it's important to support our local farmers. Yesterday I went to the Farmers Market in my town. It's small, but what it lacks in size it makes up for with enthusiastic vendors and produce so fresh it's as though you just picked it from your backyard.

It's too early for the warm-weather crops, but spinach and fresh basil were available. And with just a few additional ingredients dinner was served:

Pasta with Fresh Spinach/Basil Cream Sauce
1 lb. dried fettuccini (or pasta of your choice)
8 oz. ricotta
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (plus additional for serving)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tsp. lightly packed finely grated lemon zest

1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper
6 cups baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
2 cups loosely-packed fresh basil, chopped fresh basil

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta in the water until al dente, about 11 minutes. Reserve about 1/3 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the ricotta, parmesan, olive oil, zest, and salt and pepper.Add the spinach leaves.

Add the hot pasta to the ricotta/spinach mixture and toss to coat. The heat of the pasta will wilt the spinach. Add the reserved cooking liquid as needed to moisten the pasta. Serves 4.

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