Easy Italian Feast: Lemon Ricotta Pasta, White Bean Bruschetta, and Cannoli Pudding

I can think of no better way to feed a large group, and still have plenty of leftovers, than with an Italian Feast. This menu of white bean bruschetta, lemon ricotta pasta, and cannoli pudding is a quick and easy way to bring Italy to your table without spending hours in your kitchen!

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4-6

White Bean Bruschetta

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    Ingredients:

    1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

    1 clove garlic, mashed

    2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves

    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

    1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

    1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

    Salt

    1 baguette of italian bread

    **optional: diced tomatoes, pasta sauce (for garnish)

    Preparation:

    1. Gently toss together beans, garlic, rosemary, olive oil, vinegar and

    red pepper flakes in a medium-size bowl, taking care not to break up

    the beans.  Let the mixture stand, covered, for an hour at room

    temperature (only necessary if you want to let the flavors soak in).

    2. In the meantime, slice bread into thick slices.  Brush with olive oil

    and broil for 3 minutes or until edges begin to brown.

    3. Spoon the beans onto the slices and serve at room temperature, garnish with diced tomatoes or pasta sauce for a pop of flavor.

    Lemon Ricotta Pasta

    Ingredients:

    1 1-pound box pasta, I like to use rotini or rigatoni

    2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

    1 cup ricotta

    1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley

    Zest and juice of 1 lemon

    3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    Preparation:

    1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

    2. Reserve ⅓ cup of the water, drain the pasta, then return it to the pot.

    3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, ricotta, and reserved pasta water until a creamy sauce forms.

    4. Pour the sauce over the hot pasta. Add the herbs, lemon juice/zest, salt, and pepper.

    5. Toss and enjoy!

    **Note, this pasta also works well when paired with grilled chicken, shrimp, or scallops

    Cannoli "Filling" Pudding

    Ingredients:

    3 cups (whole-milk) ricotta cheese

    zest of 1 orange

    1/4 cups sugar, use regular sugar if unavailable

    1 tsp vanilla extract

    1 tsp cinnamon

    1 cup mini chocolate chips, plus extra for topping

    Preparation:

    1. Mix all together ricotta, sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon.

    2. Zest orange into the mixture and then add the chocolate chips in- stirring just until incorporated.

    3. Refrigerate for one hour.

    4. Spoon into glasses or ramekins and top with extra chocolate chips.

    Kris Schoels is the editor of Young Married Chic -- a blog devoted to baking, fashion, home decor and travel.