Recipe: No-cook sauce includes ricotta and lemon
This pasta recipe goes together quickly and makes a spectacular lunch dish.
(Photos: Kathy Morrison)
That's a pound of spring right there, pre-trimming.
This dish features asparagus that's on the thinner side, because it cooks quickly in the same water later used for the pasta. The sauce doesn't cook at all -- how easy is that?
I blended the sauce in my food processor, but you can use an immersion blender or even a hand mixer to get it nice and smooth. Versions of ricotta and pasta are all over the place, but this one -- adapted freely from a New York Times version -- has a nice bite, with red pepper flakes and lemon cutting through the richness of the sauce. Be sure to use whole-milk ricotta, however, for the best texture.
Not a fan of asparagus? Fresh peas would work just as well, and be equally spring-like.
Pasta with asparagus, ricotta and lemon
3/4 to 1 pound skinny spears of asparagus (or 1 cup of peas)
1 pound dried short pasta, such as penne, gemelli or farfalle
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest plus 1/4 cup lemon juice (from 1 or 2 lemons)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
|The skinny asparagus pieces cook quickly.|
Bring a large pot (at least 4-quart size) of water to boil. Trim the asparagus spear ends, then cut the spears into 2- to 3-inch pieces. Add the asparagus to the water and cook just until tender -- this will go quickly, so don't walk away.
Lift the asparagus out of the water with tongs or a slotted spoon and set it in a colander to dry a bit, then put the asparagus in a bowl and set aside. Don't dump the water from the pot! Bring it back to a boil and add a touch of salt, then add the pasta. Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente. Save 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta.
|The sauce is blended in a food processor.|
When the pasta is cooked and draining, pour the sauce into the still-warm pot. Add the pasta, stirring gently to blend, and the cooked asparagus pieces. Add a bit more pasta water as needed.
Serve immediately, topped with more Parmesan and freshly ground pepper.
More asparagus recipes on our blog :
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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Oct. 2
Plan to make the most of the mild weather in your garden.
* October is the best month to plant trees and shrubs.
* October also is the best time to plant perennials in our area. Add a little well-aged compost and bone meal to planting holes or beds, but hold off on other fertilizers until spring. Keep the transplants well-watered (but not wet) for the first month as they become settled.
* Now is the time to plant seeds for many flowers directly into the garden, including cornflower, nasturtium, nigella, poppy, portulaca, sweet pea and stock.
* Plant seeds for radishes, bok choy, mustard, spinach and peas.
* Plant garlic and onions.
* Set out cool-weather bedding plants, including calendula, pansy, snapdragon, primrose and viola.
* Reseed and feed the lawn. Work on bare spots.
* Dig up corms and tubers of gladioluses, dahlias and tuberous begonias after the foliage dies. Clean and store in a cool, dry place.
* Treat azaleas, gardenias and camellias with chelated iron if leaves are yellowing between the veins.
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