When I first started learning how to cook on a budget, all the articles I read talked about making enough of a meal to have some left over for other meals. It makes sense, you make a big batch of pasta or whatever and you get multiple meals out of it. The problem I've discovered is: I don't like leftovers. I guess I'm a food snob in that way, there just aren't very many things that taste good the next day. Macaroni & cheese - yes, chicken & rice - no. Actually my baby food mac & cheese was even better the next day! But most things just don't look appetizing to me a day or two (or 6) after they were cooked. In addition to the leftover meal, I struggle with the leftover ingredients from those meals. 1/2 an onion, sour cream I only used a tablespoon of, and in the case of my mac & cheese - a 1/2 full container of ricotta.
We were planning to have burgers for dinner the other night so I decided to see if I could find a recipe for pasta salad to use up the rest of the pasta shells and the ricotta from this weekend. I had a few other leftover things from monday night, including asparagus wrapped in pricutto (sounds fancy, and looks fancy, but is super easy to make). I started searching pasta/ricotta recipes on FoodNetwork.com and whada ya know, Aida Mollenkamp has a reciepe for Spinach-Ricotta Pesto Pasta with Prosciutto & Asparagus. I wasn't in the mood to attempt my first pesto sauce but I liked the idea of using up another container of leftovers in the same dish.
I used the recipe as a guide but basically while the pasta was boiling I cut up the prosciutto wrapped asparagus, some fresh herbs my aunt brought me the other day (parsley & oregano), and 2 thick slices of smoked ham (Ty likes his meat you know).
I sauteed that together with salt & pepper and then added the ricotta (about 1 cup) and also about 1/2 a cup of the pasta water (per Aida's suggestion) to that to make the sauce. I was a little nervous about the pasta water thing, I've seen it done on tv before but didn't really know what the point was. In this case the point was to help the ricotta "melt" to more of a sauce-like consistency. And it worked beautifully.
Once the pasta was done I drained it and then added it to the sauce.
The Verdict: Pretty darn good if I do say so myself (Ty said so too). But of course I have some leftover and I'm not convinced my ricotta sauce is going to be good leftover...any suggestions welcome!