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Pasta with Ricotta-Spinach-Shrimp Sauce



Something from last week, but I finally got the photo uploaded:

Pasta with Ricotta-Spinach-Shrimp Sauce

1 pkg. whole-grain pasta
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, crushed/minced
1/2 cup (1 small bunch) chopped green onions, aka scallions
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup milk (but up to 1/2 c. of it could be cream instead)
10 oz. pkg. of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained/pressed nearly dry
2 cups (16 oz.) ricotta
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 oz. bag of frozen cooked salad shrimp, thawed and drained

Cook pasta according to package directions before, after, or during the time you're making the sauce.

In a large saucepan or skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat, add garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes (do NOT let it brown; lower heat if necessary). Add green onions and saute for another 2-3 minutes, till garlic and onions are cooked. Stir in the flour and keep stirring till well mixed, for about 2 minutes. Again, don't let the roux brown. You're trying to take the raw flour taste off the flour, that's all. Add the milk (or milk & cream) and stir till the mixture starts to thicken. Make sure as much liquid has been squeezed out of the thawed spinach as possible before adding it. Stir in the ricotta, lemon peel, red pepper, and salt, and mix well. Stir in the thawed cooked shrimp, and cook everything over medium heat, stirring occasionally, till bubbling hot. Mix into the pasta, or serve them separately.

The spinach, lemon peel, and hot red pepper balance the creamy ricotta-shrimp white sauce to make it nicely interesting and not-at-all bland. And of course you could use more red pepper to taste.

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