This is the revised version of a recipe I noted down here a while back, because I never really put in any quantities, just typed in the ingredients as I remembered them, because it was late and I was tired!
But the recipe really is too delicious not to be written up properly, and with Jacqueline at Tinned Tomatoes starting a new Pasta Please monthly challenge with a cheese theme for January, it seemed the perfect time to re-visit this recipe and do a proper version of it. So here is the new, improved version with actual quantities and also variations!
The quantities I’ve noted below will definitely work, but feel free to experiment or change things – the essence of this dish is pasta, ricotta, and some herbs and vegetables so that you can pretend it isn’t all about the cheese. You really can’t go wrong with this sort of meal.
Vague shopping list1 punnet (250 g, approx) shelled broadbeans
1 small bunch of parsley1 handful each of basil and mint
350 g ricotta100 g parmesan, grated 25 g salted butter black pepper 1-2 tablespoons of butter, olive oil, or, ideally, a combination of the two, for sautéing vegetables. 3 spring onions (the long skinny kind) 1 baby fennel bulb 2 small bunches asparagus 3 yellow pattypan squash 350 g rigatone pasta
Now what will you do with it?
Put a big pot of water on to boil for the pasta.
Bring a small pot of water to the boil, cook the broadbeans for a couple of minutes, then drain and slip out of their skins.
Chop the herbs finely, and put them in a large bowl along with the ricotta, parmesan and butter, and some black pepper (and salt, if you like, though the parmesan pretty much has this covered).
Finely slice the spring onions and fennel, and sauté them in more butter and a little oil. When they are soft, add the asparagus (chopped into 1 inch lengths, or a bit longer), then the sliced squash, and sauté a bit until soft and golden around the edges. Add the broadbeans, and keep warm over a low heat.
Cook the pasta. Just before you drain, pull out a ladle of the cooking liquid and set aside. Drain the pasta, and add to the bowl with the ricotta and herb mix. Toss around the place, adding a bit of the cooking liquid to help moisten the whole mixture. Add in the veggies and mix a bit more. Serve. Be happy. I was.
This makes enough for four hungry people, I’d say. Enjoy!
These are endless. The traditional way to do this is a pasta bianca, just with the ricotta and parmesan, and maybe a little parsley, but I like one dish meals, and that means vegetables. In summer, you can use halved cherry tomatoes and chopped capsicums instead of the greens – and you don’t have to cook them, either. You could also add grilled or marinated eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, peppers or zucchini to the tomato version, and maybe a little basil instead of or as well as the mint and parsley. (Mind you, mint and tomatoes is an under-rated and delicious combination)
You could also do a more wintry / autumn version of this recipe with roasted beetroot, pumpkin and sweet potato tossed in with the ricotta. Only, in my view, you wouldn’t actually need the ricotta and parmesan at this point, and might as well just roast some garlic and squeeze it into the mix for a totally delicious vegan version. I’d use rosemary when roasting the vegetables, and consider a little fresh, uncooked tarragon tossed through at the very end. And, actually, feta or goat cheese would work here, if cheese is your thing. Or a sprinkling of toasted pine-nuts, for extra crunchy protein – yum!
Omnivores might like to note that a little smoked chicken tossed through the tomato / capsicum version of this recipe is also very nice.
Actually, I could spend the whole day writing variations on this, and it’s totally unnecessary, because this recipe really does work with just about anything. Go forth and experiment! The recipe deserves it!