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editted-0757Spring brings new and wonderful opportunities for pasta. From Pasta: Classic and Contemporary Pasta, Risotto, Crespelle and Polenta Recipes by The Culinary Institute of America, here’s a beautiful and marvelously satisfying elegant pasta dish. It’s filled with lots of spring peas. [Yes, you can use frozen but that spring flavor cannot be surpassed.]

This recipe is simple to create and uses a small array of Italian ingredients. For the best possible results here, look for a local Italian market. Search for fresh cheese, perhaps home-made orecchiette. And the next time you have chicken for dinner, save those bones and make your own stock for use in recipes like this. You’ll taste the difference. You might even marvel!

The cookbook Pasta is filled recipes to elevate your home cooking. The beautiful photographs are both educational and inspiring.


Orecchiette with Ricotta, Peas, and Lemon Zest

Yield: serves 4 to 6


  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed for serving
  • 2 spring onions, white and green portions thinly sliced [about ½ cup]
  • ½ cup chopped flat- leaf parsley
  • 2 pounds fresh garden peas, shelled
  • ¾ cup chicken or vegetable broth, or more as needed
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • 1 pound dried orecchiette
  • 1 ½ cups fresh ricotta
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Zest of ½ lemon, cut into very fine strips
  • Freshly ground black pepper as needed


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.

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].

Drain the orecchiette in a colander. Shake well to remove any water clinging to the pasta. Pour the drained pasta into the pas and return the pan to low heat. Gently stir the orecchiette into the peas until well combined. If there is a lot liquid, continued cooking for a few minutes to cook it off.

Removed 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.

Serve the orecchiette at once in a warmed serving bowl or in past a plates topped with spoonfuls of the remaining ricotta and drizzle with some extra-virgin olive oil.


Source:  Pasta: Classic and Contemporary Pasta, Risotto, Crespelle and Polenta Recipes by The Culinary Institute of America