Cottage cheese has gained popularity recently, and this recipe for creamy pasta with cottage cheese is the perfect way to introduce yourself to this ingredient. Even if you’re already a fan of cottage cheese, this dish will still satisfy your taste buds. By using a food processor to blend the cottage cheese with Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and zest, and garlic, you create a smooth and flavorful sauce. Toss this sauce with your favorite short curly pasta and add some baby spinach, arugula, or peas if desired. The result is a creamy, quick, and delicious dinner that will leave you wanting more.
When choosing the type of pasta for this recipe, it’s best to go for a short-cut pasta like fusilli or cavatappi. These shapes have nooks and corkscrews that perfectly collect the thick and creamy sauce, enhancing the overall texture and taste of the dish. Long strands of pasta, like bucatini or spaghetti, are better suited for other recipes such as cacio e pepe or meat sauce.
The most crucial step in making this cottage cheese pasta is using a food processor to whip the cottage cheese. This process transforms the chunky curds into a smooth and creamy sauce, blending in the lemon zest and juice, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper. To further enhance the creaminess, the addition of pasta water is essential. After cooking and draining the pasta, it is returned to the pot over low heat. The whipped cottage cheese and a cup of pasta water are then added, creating a light and velvety sauce that perfectly clings to the pasta.
Here’s a breakdown of the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:
– 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese or 1/3 cup store-bought grated Parmesan
– 2 cloves of garlic
– 1 medium lemon
– 1 pound of dried short pasta, such as gemelli, fusilli, or cavatappi
– 1 1/2 cups full-fat cottage cheese
– 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pasta water
– 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
– Chopped fresh basil leaves for garnish (optional)
To make this creamy cottage cheese pasta, follow these steps:
1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, prepare the ingredients for the sauce in a food processor. Finely grate the Parmesan cheese, garlic cloves, and the zest of the lemon. Juice the lemon until you have 3 tablespoons of lemon juice.
2. Add the short pasta to the boiling water and cook it for 1 minute less than the package instructions.
3. In the food processor, combine the cottage cheese, kosher salt, and black pepper. Process until smooth, which should take about 1 minute.
4. Once the pasta is ready, reserve 1 1/2 cups of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Place the pot over medium-low heat and add the cottage cheese mixture and 1 cup of the pasta water. Stir well between each addition of water until the sauce is well combined and creamy. Let it sit for 2 minutes to thicken slightly.
5. Serve the pasta garnished with chopped fresh basil leaves and additional Parmesan cheese if desired.
Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days. When reheating, add a splash of water to thin the sauce.
This recipe showcases the versatility and deliciousness of cottage cheese. Whether you’re new to this ingredient or a long-time fan, this impossibly creamy pasta will impress your taste buds. Enjoy the simplicity and flavor of this cottage cheese pasta for a memorable dinner that’s sure to become a family favorite.