So my weekend diner and I were out and about a few weeks ago and chanced upon some orecchiette pasta, you know those small little ears of goodness! They happen to be my diners favorite type of pasta, so me being me I took it upon myself to try cooking a dish of these up for her this weekend.
I found these following recipe from Whole Nourishment added a few little things to luxe it up a bit more (thinly sliced jamon for one). It's a great dish that is happily cook again and again.
Orecchiette with Asparagus, Ricotta, and Lemon
- 1 lb. (500 gr) orecchiette
- 1 mug of reserved pasta water
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large lemon
- 2-4 tsp. red chili flakes
- 1 small bunch (500 gr) asparagus
- 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
- 250 gr ricotta
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Handful of fresh herbs, chopped (dill, basil, mint, parsley, or a combination works well)
- Grating of parmesan (optional)
- Bring a large pot of pasta water to the boil. Salt water and drop pasta. Cook 1-2 minutes shy of package directions for al dente pasta. Don't forget to reserve a mug full of pasta water just before draining pasta!!
- In the meantime, heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add oil, garlic, zest from the entire lemon, and chili flakes. Sauté for a few minutes, until fragrant.
- Snap away woody stems of asparagus and cut stalks into coins. Add to skillet along with 1/4 tsp. salt. Sauté for 3 minutes, or until asparagus is crisp tender.
- Remove from heat. Stir in ricotta, juice from half the lemon, and a few splashes of pasta water to loosen the sauce. Add orecchiette, the remaining 1/4 tsp. of salt and a few generous grinds of black pepper. Add more pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce. (I ended up using 3/4 of a standard mug size of pasta water). Taste, adjust for seasoning, adding more salt or lemon if desired.
- Serve immediately with a sprinkling of herbs and an optional grating of parmesan