New American Plate Challenge

Whole-Wheat Pasta with Ricotta, Roasted Garlic and Walnuts

Weekly Recipe
Serves 4

This easy dinner only needs 5 main ingredients and requires minimal prep work, making it perfect for those long days. It features hearty whole-wheat pasta, reduced-fat ricotta and roasted garlic for plenty of fiber and cancer-fighting phytochemicals. Baked walnuts add a satisfying crunch and the healthy omega-3 fat, alpha-linolenic acid.


  • 1/4 Cup
    chopped walnuts
  • 8 Ounces
    whole-wheat fusilli, rotini, or papardelle
  • 1 Cup
    reduced-fat ricotta cheese
  • 6-8
    roasted garlic cloves
  • 1/2 Cup
    shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 4 Teaspoons
    extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons
    chopped flat-leaf parsley


  1. Roasted garlic: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. With a small, sharp knife cut across top of garlic head just far enough down to expose tops of all the cloves. Set garlic on square of foil. Coat garlic liberally with cooking spray. Seal the garlic in foil and place on the oven rack. Roast until head feels soft when squeezed, about 40 to 50 minutes. Open foil and cool garlic to room temperature. To release garlic, pull cloves from head and press firmly between fingers. You can reseal roasted garlic in foil and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

  2. Toasted walnuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread walnuts on small baking sheet and toast until fragrant and lightly browned, 10 minutes, stirring nuts after 5 minutes. Set nuts aside.

  3. Cook pasta according to package directions.

  4. While pasta cooks, in bowl, combine ricotta and garlic. Using back of spoon, cream them together until mixture is creamy and light. Mix in Parmigiano cheese and set aside.

  5. Drain pasta, leaving some moisture in spirals. In mixing bowl, combine pasta with oil. Divide pasta among 4 bowls. With spoon, drop cheese mixture in 5 dollops on top of pasta in each bowl. Garnish with generous amount of pepper, toasted walnuts and parsley. Serve immediately.

Nutrition: Per Serving: 430 calories, 17 g total fat (4.5 g saturated fat), 48 g carbohydrate, 20 g protein, 6 g dietary fiber, 320 mg sodium.


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