Wonder Woman Alex Puts A Spin On Spinach And Ricotta Pasta

Alex Hely-Hutchinson from 26 Grains makes spinach and ricotta pasta for the MOB.
Spinach and ricotta pasta. It's an absolute belter.
Spinach and ricotta pasta. It's an absolute belter.

Alex, from 26 Grains, came to the MOB Kitchen studio to make a delicious dish inspired by her travels in Sicily. Alex is the mastermind behind 26 Grains: The London-based cafés in Neal’s Yard and Stoney Street serving up incredible breakfasts and lunches. Whilst travelling in Sicily, she found that Sicilians cook a lot with dried pasta and use it to make incredible dishes. Alex based her signature spinach and ricotta pasta on a pistachio pesto and clam pasta she had whilst on the island.

For her dish Alex has used bucatini, a long pasta that resembles macaroni as it has a little hole in the middle. The hole means that the sauce sticks to both the inside and outside of the pasta creating ultimate flavour dispersion. If you can’t find bucatini then tonarelli or linguine are great alternatives. Any pasta, as long as it’s dried, will work.

The sauce is made by combining garlic, butter, oil, chili flakes and anchovy in a pan. The olive oil will stop the butter and the garlic from burning whilst letting the anchovy melt into the sauce. Add spinach, a touch of water, lemon zest, parmesan and black pepper and let it wilt. Pop it in the blender and blitz it to a smooth green paste.

The freshest, zingiest spinach and ricotta pasta about. Give it a go MOB.
The freshest, zingiest spinach and ricotta pasta about. Give it a go MOB.

For the pasta, you want to make sure your water is properly salted. Three pinches of salt at least. The dried pasta will leave starches in the salted water, which makes pasta water liquid gold when it comes to emulsifying sauces and creating a creamy texture. Save a cup of this brilliant pasta water to stir into the sauce at the end to give it a delicious creaminess. All the ingredients then rendezvous in a pan with a bit more butter, lemon juice and parmesan. Serve and top with fresh ricotta.

This recipe is an absolute winner. It’s fresh and zesty and easy to whip together. You’ll be making this time and time again.

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"In Sicily, they don't actually cook that much fresh pasta. So they're really creative with dried pasta."

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