Pappardelle with Spinach, Mascarpone and Pecorino Romano Cheeses

Last month, I posted instructions for making mascarpone cheese at home. Within that post, I included pictures of suggested uses for the cheese. One of those dishes pictured is today’s recipe, pappardelle with spinach, mascarpone, and Pecorino Romano cheese.

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Hand-Cut Pappardelle with Spinach, Mascarpone and Pecorino Romano Cheeses

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I started making mascarpone cheese a couple of years ago, shortly after I made my first batch of cream cheese. When I went to buy the dairy products needed to make the cheese that first time, I mistakenly bought quarts instead of pints. Once home, I read through the recipe just prior to beginning. That’s when I noticed my error but, at that point, what was I to do? One way or another that whipping cream was going to be used so I might as well make a double-batch of mascarpone. So, I did — and ended up with 2 lbs. of the creamy cheese! With a shelf-life of about 1 week, I needed more ways to cook with mascarpone, and fast. One can only eat so many jalapeño poppers or berries with mascarpone in 7 days.

Searching the web, I soon learned that there were a number of pasta recipes that use mascarpone as the base for a cream sauce. It makes perfect sense, for it’s nothing but cream. Well, after a couple of minutes, I came across a recipe by Jamie Oliver. Now, I’ve followed a few of his recipes and always had good results — and this recipe was no different. And although I’ve made a few changes to the original recipe, the basics remain the same: pasta and spinach are bathed in a rich, nutmeg-flavored mascarpone-cream sauce. It’s as good as advertised and now, whenever I make mascarpone, I make sure to reserve some for this dish.

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Pappardelle with Spinach, Mascarpone and Pecorino Romano Cheeses

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pappardelle
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ to 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 9 oz pkg (255 g) baby spinach, chopped
  • 5 oz mascarpone
  • 4 oz whipping cream
  • 10 – 12 basil leaves, chopped
  • ½ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • pasta water
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • cracked black pepper (optional)

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Directions

  1. Cook the pappardelle according to package directions. If using home-made, be aware that it will cook in a few minutes. Time the pasta so that it is finished when the spinach-cream sauce is ready.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, melt the butter in the olive oil over med-high heat. Add the garlic and nutmeg and sauté for about a minute.
  3. Add the spinach and continue cooking until the it’s fully wilted and much of the liquid has boiled away. Season with salt & pepper.
  4. Add whipping cream and mascarpone, stirring until well combined. Add a little pasta water to slightly thin the spinach-cream sauce. Bring to a simmer. Season with salt & pepper, to taste.
  5. Drain the cooked pasta and add to the frying pan. Stir well to combine.
  6. Add the basil and Pecorino Romano and stir well. If pasta seizes (too dry), add enough pasta water to moisten the pasta to your liking.
  7. Serve garnished with a good sprinkling of grated Pecorino Romano cheese and optional cracked black pepper.
Inspired by Jamie Oliver
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Fold, Cut, Unfurl

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Coming Attractions

In the weeks ahead, I’ll revisit the mascarpone post to share recipes for the berry parfaits and the jalapeño poppers that were pictured in that post. In the meantime, there will be a post on dog treats and, as promised, I’ll show you all how to make feta cheese. Though a little more challenging than any that we’ve made thus far, making feta cheese is certainly within the capabilities of virtually all who read this post. Believe me, if I can make it, so can you.

One More Thing

As sometimes happens in the blogosphere, a fellow blogger posted another pasta with mascarpone recipe today. Posted in A Dash of Sugar and Spice, Stefanie’s recipe features shrimp as well as the flavors of lemon and garlic. So, if my recipe today isn’t for you, perhaps hers will be.

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116 thoughts on “Pappardelle with Spinach, Mascarpone and Pecorino Romano Cheeses

  1. Wow, two pounds of mascarpone- what a rich and tasty conundrum. I finally figured out how to get fresh cream, so maybe I’ll join the fun, as it sounds like there will be plenty more… (I am just floored that this recipe not only has mascarpone but also includes cream. Lavish!)

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  2. That pasta looks wonderful. I remember an Italian chef cooking me papardelle con lepre that was really memorable. He was the chef at a local Italian restaurant and I had questioned him as to why he served such dull pasta dishes there. In reply he invited me to dinner to serve me what he would like to cook but which, sadly,none of his English customers would ever order.

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    • Thank you, Roger. I wonder, if you could talk with that chef today, whether he’d say the same. On this side of The Pond, there’s been an explosion of cooking shows and people have become more educated, as a result. I’ve noticed a change in menus, too, as people have outgrown spaghetti and meatballs. And, of course, with this new-found knowledge comes higher prices. 😦

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  3. I can smell that creamy, nutmeg flavoured sauce and it looks wonderful! I first came across papardelle when my daughter worked in a fresh pasta shop when she was a student, and they always seem to be a treat to me. I’m looking forward to your feta post as I’d love to know how to make it….but not sure I’ll be able to find sheep’s milk.

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    • You’re so right about the aroma. Jamie’s original recipe called for 1/2 a nutmeg but that’s a bit much for my tastes. I prefer a hint of nutmeg and a mild aroma. You’re, also, right about the sheep’s milk needed for feta. If there’s sheep’s milk available in Chicago, they’re hiding it from me. I’ve checked all over. So, I make mine with goat’s milk, although I’ve seen recipes that call for using cow’s milk, too. It’s a bit of a hassle to make but I’m not at all disappointed with the taste when goat’s milk is used.

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  4. I love the receipes you post. I am starting a file folder so I can have when I try to make them. You give such great detail how could I go wrong.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

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    • Well, that’s a surprise, Marie. It’s hard to believe that you can get freshly-made pasta, not to mention snails, but not mascarpone. Maybe I should pack up Max and Lucy, buy a cow, and move to RI. This could be the start of a mascarpone empire! In the interim, the mascarpone recipe is an easy one to follow and will keep you supplied with all the mascarpone you’ll need — just be sure to buy pints and not quarts. 🙂

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      • We even have an amazing cheesemaker in Providence who makes the best ricotta I’ve ever eaten, mozz that’s to die for, and an award-winning cheddar (among others), but not marscapone…
        Trust me, even if I bought quarts of cream, it would not go to waste. Hubby loves his French cream sauces!

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        • I need to find a cheese shop like that one here. I’ve no need for ricotta but I would really enjoy a good source for the other, hard cheeses. And I’m with your “Hubby” and love a good cream sauce. 🙂

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  5. I’ve cooked this pasta recipe of Jamie’s before and it’s a great dish with lovely light flavours. And that’s a lot of marscapone to get through in seven days. Were you able to manage it? xx

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    • Unfortunately, Charlie, some of it did go to waste. Normally, I make arrangements with friends, my tasters, to receive the excess but I was totally unprepared for this. Still, I gave it my best shot and am very glad I didn’t have my cholesterol checked at the end of that week. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Maria, this has become a favorite and, with all of that spinach, it’s just got to be healthy, right? 🙂
      I hope Starr and Zuzu will like the treats as much as Max does. He absolutely loves ’em.

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    • Lisa, if we lived nearer to each other, I’d gladly make you all dinner, and that includes your parents. It’s the Italian way, after all. 😉
      I’ll let the professionals run the restaurants. I’ll just make a few things and cook a few more — and be very happy doing it.

      Like

  6. I wish I would have made the mascarpone I needed last week for the limoncello tiramisu I made, it would have made that fact it didn’t turn out less painful … well maybe. I guess it would be $ or labor that was wasted, heartbreaking either way, but that’s the way it goes. Life/cooking is not without risk.
    This pasta dish looks fantastic–perfect seasoning clinging to tender pasta–YUM!

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    • Thanks, Judy. Sorry to hear that your tiramisu didn’t come together as planned. You’re right, though, these things happen. I hope it didn’t put you in a bind for a dinner party or special event. This is a good pasta recipe, Judy, tailor-made for special occasions.

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  7. Sorry John, but as I read the recipe I could not help but think of “calories”. This looks like one of those dishes where I am unable to exercise self-control, make that portion control, especially if made with homemade pasta.

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  8. 2 pound of rich creamy and dreamy mascarpone. What a happy accident! This pasta dish is making me drool all the way over here in Asia. I cannot wait to see all the different dishes and desserts you make with this little 2 pound happy accident. Take care, BAM

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    • A happy accident, indeed! It’s one that I won’t repeat, though. Living alone, there’s only so much mascarpone one can eat in a week and 2 pounds was a bit much. It sure was fun trying, though. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Sharyn. Like you, I enjoy nutmeg with spinach and adding both to a cream sauce makes one great dish of pasta! I’ve got another batch of feta being made right now. I’m doing a little experimenting in the hopes of sparing anyone an unsuccessful batch of cheese. That can be so discouraging — I’ve been there.

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    • I could’ve used the help. Talk about an embarrassment of riches! But I’ve moved on. I’m making feta now, getting ready for that post. Do you like feta? Are you coming through Chi-town? 🙂

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  9. Well, John, I now know how we’ll be spending our Sunday! (We may be eating lots of salad til then to ensure we can use this as an occasion to pig out in a very big way!) This looks and sounds absolutely fabulous! So looking forward to the coming attractions too, each and every one of them, and so are the pups!

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    • Thank you, Spree. I hope you’ll enjoy this pasta dish as much as I have. And I hope your pupsters are equally pleased with the treats next week. I can assure you both the treats and recipe have been tested by others and passed with flying colors. I think I’m more nervous about the dog treat recipe being accepted by its “target audience” than any other recipe I’ve posted. 🙂

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  10. John, your blog is like having the best customized cookbook ever! The recipes you share, well, it’s like you read my mind. I couldn’t find the dandelion greens last week, and was sad….but I feel much better now that you’ve posted this beautiful dish. I have all the ingredients right now! YAY! Thank you SO much!

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    • That’s such a kind ting to say, Sarah. Thank you. Sorry about the dandelions. Spring came early this year and so did these greens. They’re too old now to be of much use, at least in our salad tradition. I do hope you’ll enjoy this pasta dish. The spinach and nutmeg really make it something special. Buon appetito!

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  11. I wish I could express how I’m feeling right now…mainly just upset that this pasta isn’t sitting in front of me right now. AH! I appreciate that you’re not sparing with the cheese. Best part, right? Well, of course your homemade pasta doesn’t hurt either. 😉

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    • This is not an everyday dinner, Caroline — unless you own a defibrillator and keep it next to your dining table. But it is a great dish for a celebration or primo piatto where you can really control the portion size. And ya gotta love the cheese! 🙂

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    • In Germany? Ah, Springtime in Germany! Sorry but I can’t think of that without a smile. Glad you liked today’s post, David, and took precious vacation time to comment. I hope the remainder of your trip is fantastic and that your travels are safe. 🙂

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  12. This summer when I’m at the beach and thinking about how I really could have cut back a little the rest of the year, ahem!, I’m going to be blaming you! 🙂 Hope you don’t mind…this is soooo rich, and just looks amazing. Really good! The thought of “nutmeg-flavored mascarpone”–oh wow! I suppose I could learn the concept of portion control! Thank you for this…I think! Debra

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    • Thanks, Debra, for the comment and the smiles. If you do learn anything about portion control, please don’t hesitate to come back and teach me. When it comes to pasta, if i cook it, I’m going to eat it. My only portion control is to not make it and that’s hardly acceptable. I should start a support group. 🙂

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    • Since we “fish in the same pond”, we were bound to post similar recipes one day. It just so happened to be today. Once I saw yours, I came back and edited this one to include the link. If people don’t care for one, they may like the other — or, like me, they can like both!

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  13. Oh my, that looks so decadently rich (and delicious, of course)! My daughters love pasta with cream sauce, and I know they would love this recipe! Jamie Oliver is on my bookshelf; well, his Naked Chef cookbook is. In fact, the only time I’ve made pasta it was his recipe I followed. Next time it will be your recipe, of course!

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    • Thanks, Mar. I’m a fan of Jaime’s, too, although I don’t own any of his cookbooks — yet. His recipes never seem overly complicated nor do they involve large numbers of rare ingredients. (I hate that!) If your daughters like a cream sauce, they’re gonna love this pasta. That nutmeg really works well in this dish.

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    • Thanks, Greg. I’d wish I could convince you & Katherine to make a batch of cheese. I bet we’d all enjoy the recipes you’d post as you make your way through a couple pounds of, say, mascarpone. 🙂

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  14. What beautiful pictures to accompany that lovely sounding recipe; your pasta is really photo perfect! Two pounds of Mascarpone is a lot of cheese, but lucky for us, you found a way to use it! I cannot lie, I’m still sitting here, impatiently, waiting with bated breath for the feta recipe, John. And I’m sure you are just teasing me every time to mention it 😉

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    • Thank you, Eva, for your complimentary words. I’m on my 3rd batch of feta and will be making one more before I post the instructions. An early batch didn’t set and I’m looking for the cause. I hope this will help ensure a higher success rate for us all in the future. Believe me, it’s pretty discouraging to be forced to pour dairy products down the drain when you had planned on straining feta instead.

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      • Let me be the first to say THANK YOU for testing the recipe so diligently for us beginnings; I am very excited to try it, particularly as you will have made it fool proof! Was there nothing else you could make with the failed batch? An Aryan perhaps? or to use the whey in cooking at the very least. Not knowing what the failed end product looked like, perhaps you could have blended it with marscapone and used it in lasagna or something like that. I absolutely hate throwing away food, so my mind goes crazy with ideas when something doesn’t turn out for me. And then there are the times when I simply open the compost bin and chuck. Happy Thursday!
        Eva http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com

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        • Whatever I learn, Eva, will benefit us all. I agree with you about wasting food. Mom, being a child during the Great Depression, taught me well. Not having your skill and experience in the kitchen, I don’t know if the “ruined” dairy could be used elsewhere. In this case, the goat’s milk had been inoculated with yogurt cultures and rennet had been added. After sitting overnight, a large curd should have formed. Instead, I ended up with goat’s milk that was a little thicker than normal but nothing even close to resembling curds to make feta or any cheese, for that matter. I believe I now know what caused the problem and even have a solution. I need to make one more batch to be sure. And remember, the pressed curds need to pickle in brine for at least 5 days before they even begin to taste like feta. I’ve a refrigerator shelf that’s filling up with jars of feta in brine. It’s beginning to look like a weird science experiment. On the plus side, I’ve enjoyed a Greek salad every day since testing began. 🙂

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  15. This is a recipe I’m just going to have to try, whether or not I make my own mascarpone (which could only be better) because it has all my favorite flavors in it. My mouth started watering the minute I read the title! 🙂 What a stupendous pasta dish, and quelle terrible to have 2 lbs. of mascarpone to use up…wish I’d been around to take some off your hands, John! I had and ice cream once made from mascarpone and strawberries…delicious…hmmmm, something to consider. Can’t wait for the feta post…and to try this pasta in the meantime.

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    • Thanks, Betsy. As I mentioned earlier, I’m just glad I didn’t have my cholesterol checked after that 1 week mascarpone fest! I hope you do try this recipe and enjoy it as much as I do. It’s that nutmeg and spinach that do it for me. I never thought to use mascarpone to make ice cream. What a great idea!!! I am definitely going to revisit this when the weather warms a bit. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  16. Now this is my kind of meal John. (Seriously pretty much all of your meals are my kind of meals.) This one just speaks to me though. I’m on a big pasta kick lately and this looks like the perfect plan for next week’s dish. I still have to attempt the homemade cheese, so I’ll have to buy some mascarpone for this one. Hopefully this summer that will get checked off my to-do list. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Kristy, for being so complimentary. If you like nutmeg, this cream sauce is for you. It really does set this dish apart. I hope you do like it. As for making cheese, I’m sure you could easily tackle any of these recipes.. I just wonder if you’ll ever have the time. I’m sure you already have more than enough “on your plate” to keep you busy without adding cheese making. If and when you do decide to tackle one of them, though, I’ll be here to help you in any way possible. 🙂

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      • Thanks John! And I just wanted to let you know we made this cream sauce tonight. We used orecchiette, but kept the rest of the recipe the same. (Oh, Mike tossed in some bacon too.) It was out of this world good!!!! It got 4 spoons all around. Mr. N had seconds and Miss A ate half her bowl (which is saying something when it comes to pasta). 🙂 Thank you for sharing this one. I know we’ll make it again.

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        • So glad, Kristy, that you all tried and enjoyed this pasta recipe — even better reading that Mike added bacon to make it your own. I’ll be going to see Zia in the next couple weeks and I cannot wait to make it for her. Thanks for coming back to let me know. 🙂

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  17. Your post and photos are motivating me to consider a dinner party and to make some fresh pasta. Sounds rich and satisfying. John, you truly make cheese making seem attainable. I have to stop making the same 10 things and branch out!

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    • I’ll be so glad, Ruth, the day you make a batch of ricotta or mascarpone! You’ll be so surprised at how easy it is to make and how good the results. And, of course, when served with your home-made pasta, your dinner guests will be in for a real treat! 😉

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    • Hello, Claire. I hope you do make and enjoy this pasta. It hits all the right notes for me. You must have a long list of chores to do in order to get your home and garden “back in shape.” I hope this pasta gives you the energy you’ll need! 🙂

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  18. Wonderful recipe John, I’m loving the idea of the cream and I love spinach too, so this is a top ten recipe 🙂 now I only have to persuade my kids about the virtues of this delicious veggie 😉

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    • Thank you, Giovanna. I think your statement is echoed by Mom’s all across our planet: how to get kids to eat spinach? If you can figure that out, I bet you could write a book and make a fortune! I guess it is little consolation to you now to know that one day they will love it, much to your surprise. 🙂

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  19. Oh.. this recipe is for me, all right! I, too, struggled with quarts and other measures converted.. never mind trying to half or double a recipe. I think double the mascarpone would be the loveliest problem ever.. and finding recipes like this one make it all the more fun! I can’t wait to see your popper recipe.. those would be a favorite of mine as well. I look forward to your posts, John, especially when you tantalize by telling us what’s coming next.. I can’t wait!!

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    • Well, in retrospect, it was a great week, Barb — but that’s still a lot of mascarpone. I just assumed the recipe would use a quart of each dairy product and not pints. At least I was smart enough not to buy gallons. Betsy mentioned an ice cream made with mascarpone. Now, if I’d known about that, I may never have looked at Jamie’s recipe. I do love my ice cream! Thanks, Barb,for always leaving such kind and encouraging comments whenever you drop by. You’re like the best neighbor ever! 🙂

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  20. Hi John,

    That looks truly scrumptious! We have a terrific storm here today in South Wales, so I’ve cancelled plans to go out and instead I have spinach in the freezer, mascarpone in the fridge and nutmeg in the cupboard so guess what will be for lunch!! Thank you again for a super dish!

    Like

  21. That pasta and sauce looks amazing. I adore pecorino (more than parmesan!) and as for anything creamy…well, I´m your girl. So.. next time it´s mascarpone week, please think of me as I am quite prepared to risk high cholesterol helping you out!

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  22. Ooh, gorgeous. If I had to limit myself to only one type of pasta, it might well be papparedelle–I love their silky simplicity when they’re well made–and this combination is typical JB brilliance! xo

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    • I love ’em too, Kathryn. If I’m going to cut the pasta by hand, I’ll gravitate to these only because the noodles are wider and, therefore, there’s fewer to cut and the margin of error is lessened. Tonight, for example, I made fettuccine. Well, most of them were fettuccine. There, also, were a few tagliatelle, a couple linguini, and more than a smattering of pappardelle, together again on my cutting board. It would have been much easier had I just made pappardelle in the first place! 🙂

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  23. How could one NOT fall in love with this dish with freshly made mascarpone? And home made pasta to boot. I am always in awe of your gorgeous, rustic plates of pasta. The spinach just makes this one especially addicting to me. I would devour that meal in a matter of minutes if left alone to my own devices.

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    • My sentiments exactly, Geni! How can one not like this recipe? The spinach, nutmeg, & mascarpone make this pasta irresistible. For me and despite my best of intentions, the only portion control I can exercise is to make a small amount, for however much I cook, I’m going to eat it that night. I’d seek help but what if they cured me? I’d be miserable! 🙂

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  24. I had to drop by and say hello John– and let you know how much we enjoyed Eva’s Italian Easter Cheese Bread, which I understand is your recipe. It was as tasty as it was beautiful, and while I haven’t been one to make bread, Eva has convinced me to make it because she says it is very easy. I’m so impressed with your blog — what a wonderful tribute to your family’s recipes!

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    • Thank you for taking the time to stop by and comment.

      Eva is right. The bread is not at all difficult to make and, as you know, the result is one tasty loaf of bread. And, as a side benefit, your kitchen takes on a heavenly aroma. I do hope you bake a loaf. I sincerely doubt you’ll be disappointed.

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  25. how did i miss this post? I love creamy cheese in sauces and that first shot is very good John. I am looking forward to milking daisy because then i will be back for these recipes, and she will have lovely creamy milk being out on all that lovely grass! I so wish i could send you some good fresh cream. How come everyone lives so far away! Or is that me! Good morning.. c

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    • Welcome home, Celi! It’s not so important how you missed the post but that you did find it. This is a very flavorful cream sauce and one that I bet you and Your John would enjoy. Yeah, once Daisy starts producing milk, you’ll be sitting pretty, making all the cheese you’ll ever need. Down the road from Zia is a small, family-owned dairy farm. I keep telling Zia to keep an eye out for any strays. Oh, we would surely return the animals — but first we’d milk ’em dry!

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  26. Oh John, this is one fabulously rich pasta dish!! I’m very carefuly in watching what I eat, but I will never deny myself when I know its going to be so well worth every bite!! This is definitely my kind of pasta dish, so full of flavor and comforting. I love that you make your own pasta, I still have not done so. I’m sure the taste can’t compare to store bought even with the artisenal pastas. I also haven’t made the mascarpone yet…but as soon as I can I will report back!!

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    • Thank you, Linda. This is a great dish but one I reserve for special occasions. It’s just too rich for casual dining. I’d need a defibrillator at table side. 🙂 You’ve got way too much going on to worry about making your own pasta or cheese. Once things settle down and you get into your own home, then you may have some time to try. For now, though, you’ve got bigger fish to fry. Take care. We’ll be waiting for you.

      Like

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  30. OMG, i bet these taste DIVINE!!! I never thought of making Mascarpone at home, off to check how it’s done immediately! (I might be “tad” old to use this expression, BUT…) YOU ROCK! 😉

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    • LOL .. Thanks, Ruth. Once you make you own mascarpone and see how easy and relatively inexpensive, you’ll be amazed at how many ways you’ll think to use it. 🙂

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