Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Ricotta and Peas

This recipe is an easy, throw-together-at-the-last-minute gem. I have never been very fond of mint used for culinary purposes, but somehow it works quite well here. Freshly chopped sage is a good substitution if you don't favor mint in your food.

1 pound medium pasta shells
table salt
1 cup frozen peas (4 ounces)
2 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
12 ounces whole-milk ricotta (1 1/2 cups)
1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (one 8 1/2-ounce jar) drained, rinsed, patted dry, and chopped coarse
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese , plus additional for serving
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil, covered, in stockpot. Stir in pasta and 1 tablespoon salt; cook until al dente, adding peas in last 15 seconds of cooking. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup cooking water, and return pasta and peas to stockpot.

2. Meanwhile, heat garlic, oil, and red pepper flakes in small skillet over medium heat; cook until sizzling but not browned, about 1 minute. Set skillet aside to cool slightly. Stir together ricotta, sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan, mint, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and garlic/oil mixture in bowl. Stir pasta cooking water into ricotta mixture; add ricotta mixture to pasta in pot and stir well to combine. Serve immediately, passing additional Parmesan separately. Serves 4-6.

Recipe courtesy Cook's Illustrated