I feel like most of us have a carb that we just can’t live without. We crave it, indulge in it, and probably even over indulge in it from time to time.

Husband = toast
step mom = rice
me = pasta

I could literally do without bread or rice, always. I never crave it. I never want a sandwich or just some toast. Sure I’ll eat it, but I don’t ever ask for it, unless it’s slathered in peanut butter. But really, just give me the peanut butter without the bread and I am more than happy with that. I like pretty much all pasta though. But I do have some that I really really crave and have been known to eat 1/2 a pound of, no problem.

A few years ago I was training for a marathon. After a long run one Saturday morning, 14 miles, my appetite was quite LARGE. I proceeded to down a trough of whole wheat spaghetti with lots of butter, garlic and parmesan. And then a long nap after was in order.

These are my favorite pasta dishes:
angel hair with butter and parmesan
cavatappi macaroni and cheese
fusilli with lemon cream sauce

Yes, I do like particular noodles too. My husband thinks they all taste the same. Oh no my friend, you are WRONG, dead wrong. They taste so different. The different textures of the noodles hold the sauce different which makes it taste different in your mouth. He doesn’t buy it…

I saw Ina Garten make her lemon fusilli once on the Food Network and it looked to-die-for, so I made it. Holy cow. Insane!!!! I thought I liked pesto and creamy cheese sauces, but dang, who knew I would LOVE lemon cream sauces. Who know? Ina, she knew. I decided to re-invent her pasta dish changing up the veggies a bit and lowering the fat. Delightful! I made this for Mother’s Day and it was well liked by all.

Serves 6 (dinner sized portions)
Ingredients
1 pound uncooked fusilli
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 lemons
1 ¼ cup half-and-half
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 cups ricotta (I used low fat)
Handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil , julienned
½ cup grated parmesan
1 bunch broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 lb baby spinach, chopped ( 1-6 ounce bag)

Preparation
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the garlic, and cook for 60 seconds. Add the half and half, the zest from the lemons, the juice of the lemons, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until it starts to thicken. Whisk in the ricotta when it thickens, right before you add the pasta.

Meanwhile, cut the broccoli in florets and discard the stem.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the package, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped broccoli to the pot of cooking pasta when the pasta has about 3 minutes left.
*Add enough salt to make it almost as salty as the ocean. This seasons the pasta.
*You can cook the broccoli in a separate pot, but I cook them together to save on dishes.

Drain the pasta/broccoli in a colander and place it back into the pot. Immediately add the creamy mixture and cook it over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, until most of the sauce has been absorbed in the pasta. Add all the parmesan, veggies, basil and parsley to the hot pasta and stir together for about 1 minute, until the spinach wilts.

Pour into a large serving dish and serve hot.

Plate it up.

Dig in.
“You know what the problem with this pasta is?”
“What”
“I can’t stop after just 1 plate, I have to have 2”