Monday, April 4, 2011

Hello Spring Asparagus & Pea Pasta

I have been anxiousy awaiting the arrival of spring vegetables - particularly asparagus and fresh spring peas. This pasta dish (which can be made gluten free with the substitution of brown rice pasta) allowed me to use up some of the rotini I had left over from my arugula and pumpkin seed pesto pasta and incorporate some of the wonderful new things I got at the farmer's market. Don't worry, however, if you can't find fresh peas - frozen actually work well in this dish. It's a simple, delicious, and easy weeknight meal.

Hello Spring Asparagus & Pea Pasta
Serves 2

Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

3/4 lb. asparagus, ends snapped off and cut into 1'' pieces
1 c. peas (fresh or frozen & thawed - they can be easily thawed in the microwave)
6 oz. (about 2 c.) whole wheat rotini pasta (this shape holds onto the ricotta the best)
1/3 c. walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
Lemon zest
Extra virgin olive oil
Whole-milk ricotta cheese
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Boil water for the pasta. Meanwhile, snap off the tough ends of the asparagus and cut into 1'' pieces. Also, toast the walnuts in a small skillet until fragrant and lightly browned, a few minutes, then roughly chop.

Add the pasta when the water is boiling and cook until al dente (according to package directions - or about 9 minutes), adding the asparagus and peas for the last 3 minutes of cooking time.

Drain and toss with 1 T. olive oil, 1/2 t. salt and 1/4. t. pepper. Divide into pasta bowls and top with a large dollop of ricotta, a fresh grating of lemon zest, walnuts, pinch of kosher salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.

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