Whole Wheat Pasta with Ricotta Vegetable Sauce

Do you ever go to the grocery store and buy lots and lots of produce, thinking of all the grandiose plans you have in store for it only to find that once crisp cucumber lying limp in the bottom of the crisper a week later? I do that. More than I care to admit and I always tell myself that I will get better.

On the drive home the night that I made this, I was really trying to talk myself into just stopping to pick something up for dinner. Unfortunately, I knew there was a heap of vegetables in my fridge just about to turn a little too ripe. It really made no sense economically not to try to find a way to use it up. Especially since I just recently lost temporary control of my will to not spend money at Target (or Tar-jhey as we like to say when we’re feeling fancy).

The end result was this pasta dish. Throwing whatever you can find in your fridge into pasta usually seems to work and it’s a really versatile and simple way to use up ingredients. I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out. The ricotta added a slight richness to the dish and the fresh lemon juice and basil added great freshness. Basil just epitomizes summertime and it is making me look oh so forward to using it all the time in the coming months.

Robert was a little insecure when he saw this was a vegetarian dish, so I made sure to throw the remaining leftover porkchop on the side for him to calm his nerves. He’s a trooper. :)

Whole Wheat Pasta with Ricotta Vegetable Sauce

  • 1 12 oz box whole wheat pasta (I used penne)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, rinsed and dried
  • 3 shallots, diced
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup reserved pasta water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (plus more for garnish if desired)
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded

Directions

1. Place about one quart of water and about a 1/2 teaspoon of salt into a medium-sized pot. Bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente (still slightly firm, but not hard). Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Drain the rest of the water. Set the pasta aside.

2. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add in the peppers, shallots, and tomatoes. Saute until tender. Add in the minced garlic and cook just until lightly brown. Season with salt, pepper, and pepper flakes. Stir to coat the vegetables evenly. Remove from heat.

3. To the vegetables, add the ricotta, pasta water, and lemon juice. Carefully stir or whisk until smooth. Carefully add in the cooked pasta and toss until all pasta is coated. Stir in fresh chopped basil. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, if desired.

Source: Lolly’s Sweet & Savory Treats