Easy as Pie Asparagus & Ricotta Pasta

Remember when my Seeester and I took a pasta making class a few months ago?

photo-71

my Seeester showing off her sheet of fresh spinach pasta

We left the class with a few recipes, most adapted by the chef at Lidia’s in Kansas City. This weekend I busted out the little recipe booklet they gave us and made the Dry Pasta with Asparagus and Fresh Ricotta.

I am serious when I say this: Recipes don’t get any easier than this one, people! If you are looking for something different than your usual pasta recipe (ie: spaghetti with red sauce), maybe slightly “fancy” and you like a creamy style pasta but don’t want alfredo, this is a winner. And, like I said, it is EASY. As easy as pie.

Pie is actually not easy, in my opinion. So I scratched that out. Just believe me, this recipe is easy.

You will need:
5oz pancetta, prosciutto or bacon cut, chopped
1 1/4cups fresh ricotta cheese, drained
1 1/2pounds asparagus, trimmed, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces, leaving tips intact
1pound dry pasta, penne/ziti/rigatoni
3/4cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano or grana padano
Salt & Pepper, freshly ground
2Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing
Fresh parsley chopped
Crushed red pepper flakes (optional – this is something I added on my own)

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil and add dry pasta.
Add two tablespoons of oil to hot skillet, add pancetta (or other pork) and render the fat. Add the ricotta and enough pasta water to achieve the consistency of cream sauce. When the pasta has approximately one minute left to cook, add the chopped asparagus. Once pasta is al dente, remove pasta & asparagus from water with a strainer and add to the ricotta sauce. Reserve pasta water.

Mix pasta with the sauce and allow pasta to finish cooking in the skillet. Remove from heat and sprinkle with grated cheese and parsley. If pasta becomes too dense, add a few tablespoons of reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce.

Finish with fresh cracked pepper and olive oil. Serve immediately.

I added a few flakes of crushed red pepper. I think next time I may roast some garlic and toss it into the sauce, too. Just to see how it tastes. It about killed me that I was making a pasta dish without any garlic. So next time I will throw some in there and will probably feel much more content.

But, I mean, look …. the recipe is so easy you can’t tell the difference between the professionally-made dish and my dish.

His pasta:photo-74

My pasta:asparagusricotta

Well, maybe a slight difference… his pork is in larger pieces. He actually used guanciale and I went with small diced up pancetta. Next time I won’t dice the pancetta up so small.

Okay, full honesty: I bought my pancetta from Trader Joe’s and it was already diced. They must have a super-dicer because the pieces were teeny tiny and perfectly symmetrical. Scary, really. But made dinner prep that much faster. While I skimped on the pancetta, I did go the extra mile on the ricotta. Ha! Literally, actually, because the market I went to is about a mile away from Trader Joe’s. I went to Jasper’s Marco Polo Italian deli & market for the ricotta because the chef who taught our class said its the best in town. It was good. But I’m sure all the other markets have good ricotta, too.

Mmm. It was really, really good. And, easy as pie.

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2 thoughts on “Easy as Pie Asparagus & Ricotta Pasta

  1. Oh my gosh! Seeing the pic makes me crave the dish! It was my favorite one from the class!.

Thoughts??

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