Say hello to spring and warmer weather with this fresh Pasta with Peas and Ricotta. Creamy ricotta in every bite and a touch of vibrant fresh lemon zest and juice make this the perfect weeknight pasta dish.
This is a fresh pasta dish with a sauce made from the creamy ricotta cheese. I used whole milk ricotta, but you could even use a lower fat version. And if you have the time and the energy, go ahead and make your own fresh ricotta cheese. Another important part of this sauce is the pasta water. Be sure not to forget to save some of it. When it’s combined with the ricotta cheese and olive oil it makes the most creamy sauce and helps it all bind together. I don’t add the pan back to the heat. I feel the pan is hot enough when you drain the pasta to combine it all together.
This creamy and delicate sauce has the perfect fresh touch from the lemon juice and lemon zest and is so easy to put together for you pasta lovers. Totally irresistible from the in season fresh peas and a little crunch from the pine nuts. If you aren’t into pine nuts, feel free to omit them. This makes a lovely Saturday brunch or Sunday supper. It’s so nice served with a simple salad and these biscotti for dessert. Feel free to use frozen instead of fresh peas if that’s what you find at the market. We like our pasta al dente (to the tooth). You are adding the peas to the boiling water a couple minutes before the pasta is done. Make sure you cook the pasta until it is al dente. You could even add the peas 5 minutes before the pasta is done cooking. It’s better to risk to have more cooked peas than pasta.
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Penne with Peas and Ricotta
- 1 pound penne pasta
- Salt for pasta water
- 2 cups fresh peas
- 1 cup ricotta
- 1 lemon zest and juice (I used organic)
- Coarse or fine sea salt for sprinkling
- Ground black pepper
- 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 2 Tablespoons Italian parsley chopped (not the stems)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Cook the pasta.
- About 2 minutes before the pasta is done, add the peas to the pot and remove about a cup of the pasta cooking.
- Reserve one cup pasta cooking water, then drain penne and peas.
- Add them back to the empty pot (do not put back on the heat) with 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, some olive oil (I used about 2 Tablespoons), salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the pasta to a serving bowl.
- Spoon in the ricotta cheese and give it a good stir. If pasta seems a little dry, add a bit more of the pasta cooking water you reserved. Drizzle on the reserved tablespoon of olive oil. You should have a creamy ricotta sauce. Add a little more pasta water or olive oil if needed. Stir in the fresh lemon zest and lemon juice. Check the salt and pepper and add more, if needed, to your taste. When serving in the bowls, sprinkle on the pine nuts, Parmiggiano-Reggiano cheese, and parsley.