Sunday, January 9, 2011

Whole-Wheat Fettucine with Green Beans, Ricotta & Lemon

Whole Wheat Fettucine with Green Beans, Ricotta & Lemon 2

Have you noticed (how could you not, really?) that over the last week nearly everyone in the blogoshpere is talking about "resolutions", and my friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs are no exception.  We continue to cook with Giada de Laurentiis and our theme this week, unsurprisingly, is Resolutions.  Well, I've got to tell you that I resolved many years ago never to make another New Year's resolution - I don't think I've ever heard of anybody who ever actually managed to keep one, so who needs to set themselves up for that kind of failure.  So no resolutions for this girl.  I do however think that this is a valuable time for some reflection - to contemplate the things that you may have changed over the last year that have had a positive affect on your life (and perhaps on others around you), and consider what actions might continue that positive momentum.

A couple of years ago I happened to find myself with time on my hands at Brisbane airport, as I waited for my flight home after a two week yoga workshop on Stradbroke Island.  Having a browse around the book store, as you do, "The Ethics of What We Eat" by Peter Singer & Jim Mason seemed to literally jump off the shelf at me, and I have to say that my attitude to food was irrevocably changed from that moment on.  So much of what I read was a real eye-opener, while other content was more thought-provoking than challenging.  The end result though was that I am no longer able to just unconsciously put anything on my plate without thinking about where it has come from and what the consequences of getting it to my plate may have been.  I don't have all the answers yet (probably never will), but at least I'm thinking about it, and everything I buy for my table now involves a conscious decision to get it there.

I've always liked making things from scratch, and this has become even more important to me.  I think I've developed a lot of skills over the years, and I continue to take on new challenges and learn how to make new things.  Last year I made cheese for the first time, thanks to the inspiration and encouragement of Natashya and Heather at Forging Fromage, and I discovered the joys of making my own ice cream (almost completely eliminating store bought ice cream from my freezer).  I got more consistent about making my own bread, and even started doing the occasional bit of baking.  I learned how to clean a squid, and even cleaned and gutted sardines (but that's for another post).

So I'm not making any sweeping resolutions here - I'm just reinforcing my commitment to continuing to develop my knowledge and understanding, and keep my mind open to constantly learning new skills.  Two things that I do want to do are reduce the amount of white flour and sugar in my diet and begin to use more whole grains - I think there is a whole new world out there for me to discover.  I'm also keen to make more of my own pasta - I eat a lot of pasta, and there is no doubt that a packet of pasta in the pantry is the ultimate convenience food - but I really want to take my time over it more often and develop my pasta-making skills.

With these things in mind, the recipe for Whole-Wheat Linguine with Green Beans, Ricotta and Lemon from Giada's Kitchen, seemed like a great place to start - whole-wheat pasta, green beans and tomatoes are tossed together in a light creamy sauce, which is made by simply combining ricotta with some of the pasta water - result a beautiful, luscious sauce, without a trace of heaviness.  The whole thing is finished off with a sprinkling of lemon zest (of course it does, this is a Giada recipe after all), which really brings a bright, fresh note to this dish.  This dish is truly the work of moments, but since I had a leisurely afternoon to spare yesterday I also opted to make my own whole-wheat fettucine (I used the recipe here for whole-wheat pasta, but halved the quantity which gave enough for two very generous servings) and my own ricotta.

Whole Wheat Fettucine with Green Beans, Ricotta & Lemon 6

Whole Wheat Fettucine with Green Beans, Ricotta & Lemon 5

Now you may think that sounds like a lot of effort - but truly, I don't think there would have been more than 30 minutes actual labour involved;  and, since the only other effort required for this dish is trimming a few beans, sauteeing them off with a little chopped garlic, halving some cherry tomatoes, and boiling a pot of water, this is hardly arduous work.

Whole Wheat Fettucine with Green Beans, Ricotta & Lemon 4

Whole Wheat Fettucine with Green Beans, Ricotta & Lemon 3

I promise you that making your own pasta and ricotta is deeply rewarding - it's the kind of work where the sense of satisfaction derived from its completion is about three times the actual effort that went in.  By all means, use store-bought pasta and ricotta here if you like - heck, that's what I do a lot of the time and I would never denigrate that - but if you have the time to spare and the inclination I urge you to try making your own.  Either way, do try this dish - deliciously light, fresh and healthy, it is the absolute antithesis of so many rich, heavy pasta dishes.  You can find the original recipe here or on page 112 of Giada's Kitchen - I made no changes (other than to reduce the quantities since I was eating on my own), and nor do I recommend any.

Whole Wheat Fettucine with Green Beans, Ricotta & Lemon 1

Interested in getting to know Giada a bit better?  Then do go and visit my friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs and see what they've all been cooking up ....


.... or check out Giada's Kitchen and many of her other titles, available from Amazon, Book Depository UK and Fishpond NZ

Giada's Kitchen: New Italian Favorites    Giada at Home: Family Recipes from Italy and California    Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipes

I'm also submitting this post to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted this week by Claire at Chez Cayenne - you will be able to see a full round-up of all the submissions there on Friday 14 January.   I'm looking forward to checking out a whole lot of new pasta dishes.

This post is also submitted to the Hearth and Soul and  Decidedly Healthy or Horribly Decadent blog hops.


  1. Hi .. my name is MARIMI,,, is the first visit to your blog and I love to light new and different recipes like yours,,, I invite you to visit my blog and share mine. ... From VIGO SPAIN SALUDOS.

  2. Awesome post! I'm certainly with you on 1) no resolutions and 2) be more attuned to what I cook and where it comes from - especially trying to make my own.

    Thanks for sharing this with Presto Pasta Nights.

  3. Hi Garlutti - thank you so much for visiting - I love Spanish food, so I'm very much looking forward to discovering your blog.

    Thanks so much Ruth - obviously good cooks think alike :-)


  4. BEAUTIFUL! I took a pasta making class and waited way too long after to try and make spaghetti..had a little trouble with it but have been dying to do it again. I STILL haven't tried to make the ricotta yet, despite seeing your post awhile ago showing me how to do it. I resolve to...just kidding. I hope to make it soon!!


  5. Oh yum Sue! That's what I actually said when I saw your picture, lol. This looks amazing to me, and I'm so impressed not only with your cheese-making skills but the fact you made your own pasta. Some day....... I do make all my own ice cream though, like you, lol!
    Great recipe Sue and I love how colourful it is. Looks scrumptious!

  6. What a lovely plate of pasta! I am always looking for more ways to use ricotta, thanks!

  7. Homemade pasta and homemade ricotta!!! You are my hero!

  8. This recipe looks so fresh, fantastic, and full of flavor. I love that you made your own pasta and ricotta. Such a beautiful dish. Way to go, Sue!

  9. oh they looks so colourful and love the zest on refreshing!

  10. Wonderful! I am with you - make more from scratch! Love the pasta and ricotta and the veggies all together. I might make a winter version of the same tonight..
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. Thanks Veronica - hope you give the pasta-making another try - I think it does take two or three attempts to really get the feel of it, but after that there's no looking back :-)

    Hi Brenda - thanks :-) So glad you've got the ice cream making nailed - I just can't bring myself to buy it any more, but truly making ricotta requires only about 1/4 of the effort of making ice cream, so you can do it :-)

    Thanks Melynda - I agree - I think lots of people are often wondering what to do with ricotta, and here once it is combined with the pasta water you end up with a luscious creamy sauce that is really very light.

    Oh Pam - thanks so much - but truly this sounds way more impressive than it actually is.

    Thanks Kim - this really was lovely and light and fresh, and is definitely on the "to be repeated many times over list" :-)

    Hi Ananda - thank you - I loved the touch of lemon - it really did bring the whole dish to life.

    Thanks Natashya - a more wintery version of this would be great actually - I can imagine this would be great with some chargrilled eggplant, or roasted butternut squash or sweet potato :-)

    Sue xo

  12. Suzy Q! You are speaking my language on the resolutions and why I started my Baby steps to a rockin' life! LOL. All silliness aside though, your thoughts on conscious food decisions and being present in that is so key! I do adore the very creative process of cooking as well. Isn't making pasta fun? This recipe looks so simple but yummy good! Thanks so much as always for sharing on the hearth and soul hop this week! Hugs! Alex

  13. Gorgeous pasta,! This is amazing and I wish I could eat a plate right now. So glad you shared this with the hearth and soul well as IHCC this week :D

  14. Hi Sue,
    Your Fettucine Dish looks delicious. I wish I had some right now. I would like to invite you to bring a dish to my Full Plate Thursday. Thank you for sharing and you have a great week!

  15. I totally agree with you about resolutions. I like to reflect and develop new affirmations for the year, but no resolutions for me! Your version of Giada's pasta dish looks so pretty and very delicious too. I really like her recipes as well.

  16. Dear Sue,
    you made the tagliolini!
    You are a fantastic woman!


  17. Sue - I needed this yesterday when I had a tub of ricotta and no inspiration to use it up LOL! I love simple dishes that have so much taste. I don't make resolutions either - but i do like to reflect! Thanks for sharing this with us at the hearth and soul hop!

  18. Miriam - thank you so much :-)

    Alex - yes, pasta making is great fun, and so super-easy. I'm eager to try more now. This was about my fourth attempt & I feel as though I'm starting to get the hang of it now.

    Thanks Heather - next time I'll save a plate for you :-)

    Thanks Miz Helen - I'll be sure to check out Full Plate Thursday.

    April - thanks - I have had so much success with lots of Giada's recipes - I definitely find most of them to be quick and easy fixes for mid-week meals which is a real bonus for me.

    Barbara - thank you so much :-)

    Christy - this is a great recipe for using up a bit of ricotta. I enjoyed it so much I made it a second time last night :-)

    Sue xo

  19. So how did I miss this in my google reader and on IHCC? I'm so behind in reading since the Holidays. Saw the thumbnail at Hearth & Soul, clicked b/c it looked so good, then said "hey I know that blog!" This does look really good, Sue!

  20. Wow, this dish looks absolutely amazing! I love all of those flavors and have never thought to combine them all together, sounds delicious. I'm so impressed you made your own pasta and ricotta, I bet they were perfect in this dish.

    That first photo with the lemon zest dusted on top is just beautiful.

  21. Love this recipe. i'm planning to try it soon

  22. I want to make my own ricotta too!

  23. I made my own ricotta and pasta for the first time last year too. Definitely worth the trouble. Your dish looks delicious.

  24. What a wonderful dish--healthy and good. I am with you on the resolutions--I look at the New Year as a time to reinforce and recalibrate. ;-)

  25. MM - thanks - and glad you caught up with it eventually :-)

    Andrea - thanks so much - actually I loved this so much I made it again a couple of days later.

    Hi Food Hunter - thanks for stopping by - I hope you enjoy it.

    Oh Gay - once you try making your own ricotta, you'll never look back :-)

    Claudia - you're absolutely right - really it's very little effort and as you say so worth it.

    Hi Deb - thanks - yes, actually reinforce and recalibrate sums it up perfectly :-)

    Sue xo

  26. Wow! It not only looks delicious, but you made your own pasta and ricotta! Impressive! Will bookmark this.

  27. Thanks so much honeybee, and thanks for stopping by :-)


  28. I so love to cook and bake - but I want YOU to come right over and make his for me! Other than Yogurt Cheese, I haven't ventured into the chees making realm tho I've seen recipes of Heather I want to try - I may just have to give it a go soon.
    Thanks for sharing!!


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