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Orecchiette with Ricotta Peas and Lemon Zest

This recipe and other great ones is from The Culinary Institute of America's cook book, Pasta.

Chef Notes:

  • You can add some prosciutto in with the onions in step 1 for more flavor.
  • If you want a richer flavor, you can also add some butter when the pasta gets tossed with the peas in step 4.
  • You can substitute orange zest for the lemon zest.
Orecchiette with ricotta peas and lemon zest recipe by The Culinary Institute of America

Ingredients

Makes 4–6 Servings

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed for serving
  • 2 spring onions, white and green portions, thinly sliced (about ½ cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 lb fresh garden peas, shelled
  • 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth, or more as needed
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • 1 lb dried orecchiette
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh ricotta
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon, cut into very fine strips
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the green onions and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 2 minutes. Add half the parsley and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the shelled peas and the broth and bring to a simmer, stirring well. Reduce the heat to medium-low or low and continue to cook, covered, until the peas are tender but not mushy, 4 to 5 minutes (the time may vary depending upon the size of your peas). Take the pan off the heat and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the orecchiette and stir to submerge and separate the pieces. Cook, uncovered, until just tender (al dente), 8 to 10 minutes (check the cooking time for your pasta).
  3. Drain the orecchiette in a colander. Shake well to remove any water clinging to the pasta. Pour the drained pasta into the peas and return the pan to low heat. Gently stir the orecchiette into the peas until well combined. (If there is a lot of liquid, continue cooking for a few minutes to cook it off.)
  4. Remove the pan from the heat, add half of the ricotta to the orecchiette and fold together. Fold in the remaining parsley, the Parmigiano-Reggiano, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
  5. Serve the orecchiette at once in a warmed serving bowl or in pasta plates topped with spoonfuls of the remaining ricotta and drizzled with some extra-virgin olive oil.

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