Ricotta floats in a sea of peas

March 17, 2011
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  • Serves 4
Author Notes

A favorite easy pasta recipe of mine, from Marcella Hazan, involves stirring pasta with fresh ricotta, peas and bacon. These flavors were the inspiration these deconstructed ravioli. These are actually quite easy to make and were possible to pull off on a weeknight, with the help of a seven-year old who is an enthusiastic pasta roller. These are delicious with fresh peas, but frozen are quite acceptable, as long as you use plenty of fresh chives and parsley. —Fairmount_market

What You'll Need
  • For the pasta
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup water, or more as needed
  • olive oil
  • For the sauce and garnish
  • 3 cups fresh shelled peas or a 10 ounce bag of frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divide use
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 slices prosciutto
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta
  • plenty of fresh ground pepper
  • salt to taste
  1. Prepare the pasta dough in a food processor by mixing together the flour, eggs, and salt. Gradually add water until the dough just starts to come together into a ball. Gather the dough and slice it into approximately 12 slices. Roll out using a hand crank pasta maker or by hand, until the dough is the desired thinness. Cut the strips of dough into approximately 4 inch square pieces, but don't worry about the ragged edges.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add the fresh pasta squares. Allow the water to come back to a boil and cook for about one minute, tasting a corner to check that it is has the desired bite. Drain the pasta and drizzle on a little olive oil to prevent the squares from sticking to each other.
  3. While the pasta water is heating, prepare the pea sauce. Heat a skillet and melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter. When the butter is foaming, add the peas, salt and pepper, and saute for a couple of minutes. Add the fresh chopped chives and stir for another minute. Add 1 cup water and cook until the peas are soft. If using frozen peas, they will be almost done when you add the water, but fresh peas will need to simmer a little longer. Remove the peas from the heat. In a food processor, chop the parsley leaves and lemon juice. Add the cooked peas and process into a smooth, runny paste. You may need to add a little more water to achieve the right consistency. Return the sauce to the skillet to keep warm. Adjust seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, or lemon juice to taste.
  4. Prepare the prosciutto garnish. Cut the prosciutto into approximately 1/2 inch pieces. Heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a small skillet and when it is foaming, add the prosciutto, a generous grinding of pepper, and the lemon zest. Separate the prosciutto pieces and cook for about 5 minutes until they become crispy. Remove from heat.
  5. In pre-warmed pasta bowls, assemble the floats. Ladle in the pea sauce (heat it up for a moment before serving if it's cooled down). Layer on 3 or 4 pasta squares per plate and top each with a generous dollop of fresh ricotta (you'll have some leftover pasta for seconds). Sprinkle on the crispy prosciutto, and serve at once.

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I'm a biology professor and mother of two, and in my (limited) free time I love to cook, which is much more forgiving than laboratory science. Last year I helped start a farmers market in my neighborhood, and to promote it, I created a food blog: fairmountmarket.blogspot.com. I enjoy the challenge of coming up with recipes for local, seasonal ingredients and finding fun ways to cook with my children.

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