Orecchiette with Sundried Tomatoes and Ricotta

I am not sure what I have been doing, but between trying to get out of the house at least once a day, organizing different parts of my apartment and purposefully resting to prepare for the upcoming school year, time has been flying. My sister and I went to Franklin Park Conservatory last week, which I always love. I have also been fortunate to find some great recipes lately.

We made this chicken with tomatillo salsa by broiling it, and the salsa was amazing too.  I also had one cup of rice (in a microwavable pouch) with some fresh green beans.

But my favorite recipe that I was so glad to have found is this one for fluffy lemon ricotta pancakes. I am not normally a pancake girl, but I LOVE ricotta cheese, and so one day I ordered the Cloud Nine Pancakes from Northstar Cafe. I was so impressed by them, and knew they couldn’t be that great for me. So I was very happy to have a recipe from Weight Watchers that also pleased the boyfriend. The best part is that I saved the extras and have been having them for the last few days by microwaving them, and they are still pretty good.

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The downside of making a recipe like that is that you are left with some ingredients that only come in a much larger size than called for, such as ricotta cheese. So as I have been dreaming up ways to use this, I have also come across a few recipes using orecchiette pasta. The nice thing about each of these recipes is that the pasta gets cooked alongside the other ingredients, which eliminates not only other steps, but other dishes.

The sun-dried tomatoes remind me of summer for some reason, and they lend an indulgent sweetness to the dish. Adding spinach ups the nutrition, and the orecchiette (pronounced oh-reck-ee-ET-tay) is just fun to eat.

This recipe uses Lightlife Gimme Lean Sausage, but feel free to use whatever you enjoy, or omit it all together. I was nervous about this sausage, so I bought turkey sausage as a back up, but was glad to not need it. This recipe basically came out like an adult Italian themed mac and cheese, which I (of course) love. The “meat” was a little interesting to work with and has a unique flavor/ texture, but it was one that I enjoyed. I think this recipe would still taste wonderful without any sort of sausage, but I wanted some extra protein.

This came out to 8 sp in the Weight Watchers recipe builder. *This isn’t vegetarian because it uses chicken broth. Feel free to substitute if need be. **Be ready to add water to the pasta while it’s cooking.

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Orecchiette with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Ricotta

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 lb Gimme Lean Sausage (or omit or use sausage of your choice)
1 tsp of olive oil
1 large white onion, chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups chicken broth *can sub to make vegetarian **I use Better than Bouillon
8 oz uncooked orecchiette
1/2 C. Part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 C. Sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t salt
2 T grated Parmesan cheese + 1 T more for garnish
3 C. roughly chopped fresh spinach

Nutrition

279 Calories
Protein 18 g
Carbohydrate 42 g
Dietary Fiber 6 g
Total Sugars 4 g
Added Sugars 0 g
Total Fat 4 g
Saturated Fat 2 g
*Calculated with ingredients above

Directions

  1. Brown your choice of sausage in a large non-stick pan. I added small amounts of water to break up the Gimme Lean Sausage. While cooking, break into small pieces until done. I also added crushed red pepper here since I like spicy foods. Transfer to a plate.
  2. In the same pan, add 1 tsp of olive oil and brown onion over medium heat. Add in garlic, and cook until starting to caramelize. Add in 3 cups of chicken broth and turn up heat to high.
  3. Add in orecchiette and stir. Cook for about 12 minutes, or until it reaches desired tenderness. Stir often and add small amounts of water as needed. Sauce will thicken.
  4. Meanwhile, pulse sun-dried tomatoes and part-skim ricotta in a small food processor or blender. Add in salt and oregano. Scrape down to ensure all ingredients mix. Taste to be sure it is seasoned as desired.
  5. When pasta is at desired tenderness, reduced heat to low. Add in ricotta mixture and stir well.  Add in 2 T of grated Parmesan, then add in spinach and stir until it wilts. Then add back sausage, stir until heated through. Garnish with remaining 1 T of cheese and ENJOY.

Health and joy,

alex

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