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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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
- 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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- 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.
- 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.
- Add the spinach and continue cooking until the it’s fully wilted and much of the liquid has boiled away. Season with salt & pepper.
- 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.
- Drain the cooked pasta and add to the frying pan. Stir well to combine.
- 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.
- Serve garnished with a good sprinkling of grated Pecorino Romano cheese and optional cracked black pepper.
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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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