Using Leftover Ricotta for a Cheesy Pasta Dish
Make Easy Cheesy Pasta
The other day, I made some delicious lasagna, but I had some ricotta cheese left over. There it sat in the refrigerator, staring at me every time I opened it, beckoning me to use it.
But what for? What do you use ricotta cheese for besides lasagna?
I hopped on the web and you can use it in various desserts, including cookies and cheesecake. I'll definitely be trying some of that.
But I had a pasta craving and no, I didn't have nearly enough to make a whole batch of lasagna. Besides, it was lunchtime and I was hungry for something warm and easy.
l played around with some simple ingredients I had in my kitchen and I came up with a recipe that makes macaroni and cheese pale like a bad pile of mozzarella.
Read on to find out how I made an easy cheesy pasta dish with my leftover ricotta cheese and discovered that it's one that I'll make over and over again!
- 1/2 bag (6 oz.) pasta
- 1/4 small onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 stick butter, melted
- 3-4 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated
A couple things as you make this:
- If you don't have 1 cup of ricotta cheese, just add that extra mozzarella cheese. For example: if you only have 1/2 cup of ricotta, add an extra 1/2 cup of mozzarella.
- Play around with this a bit. If you don't like onion that much, use less or none at all. If you love garlic, add more. Your friends and family will love you!
- Try different cheeses - cheddar for a different effect and taste with added color, and Parmesan adds texture.
- Cook pasta according to instructions using the water. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
- While pasta is cooking, dice and mince the garlic and onion.
- In a large bowl,combine the ricotta, garlic and onion and melted butter. Blend on a low setting for about 30 seconds, or until it's blended. If you don't have a blender, mix by hand until well-blended.
- Spray a casserole dish (or an 8x8" baking pan) and fill it with the pasta. Add enough mozzarella cheese to cover.
- Spoon the ricotta mixture evenly over the top.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the sides of the dish begin to brown. Serve hot.
Did You Know?
- When you slice an onion, if it's cold, the vapors won't affect you as much - more incentive to store unused onion in the refrigerator.
- When you do cut into the onion, run it under cold water a bit to help cut down on the chances of the vapors making your eyes tear up. Breathe through your mouth as you cut the onion - this will really help to keep your eyes from watering.
- When you're cooking the pasta, add a little oil to the water to help keep it from bubbling over. Adding a little more oil after you've drained the pasta will help keep it from sticking.
It's better than macaroni! Your family will love it!
If you still have leftover ricotta cheese, you can always freeze it for next time.
Heat leftovers in the microwave or re-heat in a pan with a little bit of butter coating the bottom, and maybe a bit of added milk.
© 2012 Cynthia Calhoun