This dish is simply fresh and tastes like spring and early summer. The creamy cheese and pop of lemon is just what my heart desires this time of year. The best part? This is a one pot meal! Yes, just read the recipe and see. The chunks of soft fresh ricotta are stirred at the end, so it doesn’t melt, and you are left with gooey cheesy pockets. The bite of asparagus and taste of zesty lemon with a hint of mint and basil leave your palate guessing for more. I love the fun texture and shape of the campanelle pasta. In Italian, campanelle means ‘bells’ and that is exactly what they look like. You can certainly use any pasta variety you like if you don’t have these on hand. I like that the campanelle are about the same size as the cut asparagus so you can create the perfect bites with all the components of the dish. Is anyone else into creating ‘perfect bites’ with their food? I like to taste a little bit of everything in one precise bite. It’s a rare occasion that I methodically plan my bites these days, with three young children at my table, but there will be a day for that again. Truth be told, I’m not in a hurry for that day just yet…
Made with Amore,
Pre time: 15 min Cook Time: 15 min Total Time: 30 min Yield: 4-6
2 cloves garlic, cut in quarters
1 pound asparagus (cut into pieces and stems removed)
1 pound campanelle pasta (or other desired pasta)
1/2 cup (about 1 ounce) finely grated parmigiano (parmesan cheese)
1/3 C olive oil
Ground black pepper
Juice and zest of 1 lemon, plus more to taste
8 leaves of fresh mint and (torn with hands to prevent them from getting brown- metal knives are harsh on fresh leaves)
8 leaves of fresh basil (torn with hands to prevent them from getting brown)
**If you using dried herbs use 1 Tablespoon of each since herbs are more potent when dried
1 cup ricotta cheese; use fresh if you can find
Salt for pasta water
- Mix parmigiano cheese with zest of one lemon in a small bowl- set aside
- Bring a large pot of WELL-salted water to boil
- Add garlic to boiling water. Let boil 3 minutes
- Add the cut asparagus to the boiling water and garlic
- Add the pasta to the boiling water, garlic, and asparagus
- Cook pasta according to package instructions- al dente
- Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water before straining
- Strain the pasta, garlic and asparagus.
- Quickly add them back to the empty pot with 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, grated parmigiano and lemon zest mixture, olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Cook on high for one minute, tossing constantly.
- Add a splash more cooking water if pasta looks too dry.
- Turn heat off, dollop ricotta all over in large spoonfuls and, without stirring, tip pasta mixture into a wide serving bowl.
- Drizzle pasta with a small amount of olive oil, fresh ground black pepper, then squeeze lemon juice over the whole dish, sprinkle with mint and basil and finish with an extra sprinkling of parmigiano.
- Gently toss right before serving
,Serve quickly; eat happily.
,(Lemon juice may discolor green vegetables so be sure to add this only right before serving.)
Some tips on storing asparagus…
When you bring home from the store simple cut 1-2 inches off the bottom and place in a small bowl of fresh water. Cover the tops with plastic baggies and they will stay fresh for over a week. No drying out or going limp in the fridge drawer.
If you make this recipe please write a comment to tell me your thoughts! I want to connect with all of you through your experience with my recipes.