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Once, when I was talking to my friend Guiseppe in the kitchen, he told me that his mum often served him spaghetti with ricotta sauce when he was a kid, a fond childhood memory that made us both smile. In my version, I’ve added body to the sauce with chopped spinach and nutmeg, as I’m always looking for ways to add greens to a meal.


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In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and fry the garlic for 1 minute until fragrant, then add the shallots and cook on a medium low heat for 5 minutes. Grate over the nutmeg and cook for a further 3 minutes to let the shallots absorb the aromatic flavour. Add the spinach along with 1 tablespoon of water, cover the pan with a lid and cook for a further two minutes until the spinach has wilted. Set aside to cool.

Combine the ricotta, lemon zest and Parmesan in a large bowl.

When the spinach is cool enough to handle, remove the excess liquid by squeezing it with your hands, then add it to the bowl and combine everything together with a wooden spoon.

Now make your spaghetti.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil, then season it well with table salt. Take a ladle of the boiling water and add it to the ricotta and spinach mixture, stirring it in to create a loose creamy sauce. Now transfer this to a large saucepan and set it on a really low heat, keeping the sauce warm rather than cooking it.

Carefully drop the spaghetti into the boiling water and cook for 1½ minutes, then use tongs to lift the pasta into the sauce. Toss to mix it well. If the sauce is too thick simply loosen it with more pasta cooking water. Squeeze over the juice of half a lemon and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve into four warm bowls, with a generous sprinkling of pangrattato on top and a large dish of garlicky sauteed broccoli on the side.