I snuck out of work early a few Fridays ago to go to the Croc's store in SoHo where Mario Batali was signing his cookbook Molto Batali. I didn't know what to say to him besides "thank you for Eataly," which I meant. He signed my cookbook and I went on my merry way to buy new running shoes, which I knew I'd need after cooking through this book.
There are a ton of delicious looking recipes in the cookbook, all family style, and this is the first one that caught my eye because I love greens in pasta and also pesto, which this resembles. I did a bike tour of half of Manhattan looking for croxetti pasta the next morning and eventually found it at (duh) Eataly.
This recipe taught me the importance of having a very large pasta pot for cooking large portions; my pasta stuck together in my small(ish) pot quite a bit.
Note: Serves 8-10 as a first course, 6 as a main. You can easily cut this recipe in half.
Croxetti with Green Ricotta
From: Mario Batali (Molto Batali: Simple Family Meals From My Home to Yours)
1 1/2 pounds croxetti pasta (also called corzetti)
1 pound baby spinach, trimmed
1 cup fresh ricotta
1/2 cup soft fresh goat cheese
3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano, plus extra for sprinkling
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Bring 6 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Set up an ice bath nearby for the spinach.
2. When the water is boiling, add 2 tablespoons salt. Drop the spinach in the water and cook for 1 minute. Immediately drain the spinach and submerge it in the ice bath. When the spinach cools, drain it in a colander and squeeze out as much water as possible.
3. Transfer the spinach to a food processor and pulse until it is finely chopped. Add the ricotta, goat cheese, nutmeg and 1/2 of the pecorino. Process until smooth and season with salt and pepper. Remove the mixture from the food processor and keep in a large bowl (to mix with the pasta).
4. In a large pasta pot, bring 8 quarts of water to boil, then add 2 tablespoons salt. When boiling, add the croxetti and cook for 1 minute less than the package instructs. Just before the pasta is ready, use a ladle to remove a 1/2 cup of pasta water; add this water to the ricotta mixture. Drain the pasta and toss with the ricotta mixture until the pasta is nicely coated. Top with remaining pecorino and add salt and pepper to taste.
Croxetti are "Ligurian hand-stamped pasta coins."
Mario Batali at the Croc's store and my signed book: "peace thru pasta!" Amen to that.