Shells with Spinach (Conchiglie con Spinaci)

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- 1 pound fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped

- 2 ounces of pancetta or bacon, finely chopped

- 1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese

- 1/4 cup water

- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

- 3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

- 1 pound pasta shells (conchiglie)

- Salt


1.  In a large pot, prepare the water for the pasta according to the manufacturer's instructions.

2.  While the water is heating, in a separate large skillet add olive oil, chopped pancetta, and garlic and heat gently over medium heat. Cook until garlic is lightly translucent. Note: if cooking with bacon, add bacon to just the olive oil and cook until just before the fat is nicely rendered and the bacon is almost crispy; then, add the garlic and continue cooking until garlic is translucent and bacon is crisp.

3.  Add water, salt and spinach to the skillet and cover, stirring every 2 minutes or so until the spinach is thoroughly wilted, 5 – 7 minutes. Turn heat to low and continue to let the sauce cook.

4.  When the water for the pasta reaches a rolling boil, add the pasta to the water and cook according to the manufacturer's instructions.

5.  When the pasta is cooked, drain it and place it into a serving bowl.

6.  Into the spinach mixture, add the ricotta and stir thoroughly until the ricotta is dissolved.

7.  Turn off the heat from the stove and add the spinach mixture to the bowl along with the Parmigiano, salt and pepper and toss well, ensuring that the spinach is evenly distributed throughout the pasta.

8.  Serve immediately.