6 quarts water
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
1 pound spaghetti
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil, Italian parsley, mint, or arugula
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 - 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided


1. In a large stockpot, bring water to a rolling boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and spaghetti and cook until quite al dente (hard), about 3/4 done.
2. While the pasta is cooking, spoon out 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. In a food processor or with an immersion mixer, whip the ricotta, the herb, the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper and 1/4 cup pasta cooking water until creamy. Transfer to a very large nonstick skillet or 6 quart pot.
3. When the pasta is cooked to quite al dente, drain well, reserving 1 cup of the starchy pasta cooking water. Add the drained pasta to the ricotta cheese in the skillet or pot, along with 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water and 1/4 cup of the grated cheese. Cook over the highest heat, stirring with a wooden fork to mix well. Add more of the pasta cooking water if the sauce dries out and the pasta isn't cooked. Serve garnished with the remaining grated cheese.

Adapted from The Chef of Cucina Amore: Celebrating the Very Best in Italian Cooking: Publishers' Group West; Copyright 1999 West 175th Enterprises, Inc.

Faith Willinger's recipe of ricotta cheese, plenty of fresh herbs (basil, Italian Parsley, mint, or arugula) and black pepper flavor this quick pasta dish.

Pasta with Ricotta and Herbs
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