Asparagus, Pea, & Ricotta Cream Paccheri Lisci

As you all know by now, the majority of my recipes are revolving around pasta, and yet again I’m back with another one for you.  This time I really wanted to highlight the fact that asparagus is so in season & easily accessible in every grocery store this type of year.  Asparagus is primarily used in grilled dishes during the summertime, but it’s still easily used in many recipes, its such a versatile vegetable!  I decided to highlight the asparagus with a lemony ricotta cream sauce, english peas, and edible flowers to highlight this vibrant vegetable.

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Lets talk the base ingredients for your sauce.  You’ll need sweet onion, garlic, white wine, lemon juice & zest, fresh thyme, crushed red pepper, nutmeg, pink himalayan salt, black pepper, and vegan butter.  We’ll be adding other things into this, but this is what you want to start your sauce out with.

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As far as pasta goes, you can really use whatever you have on hand here.  My favorite for this recipe is Paccheri Lisci.  Its basically a smooth, extremely wide and large rigatoni pasta.  The shape of it allows the asparagus to fit inside and the sauce to stick to it well, so you get a rewarding bite every time.  Paccheri Lisci is relatively hard to come by, it is sold in most specialty supermarkets, whole foods, and Italian shops though.  If you can’t find it, you can use rigatoni, fusili, farfalle… really any pasta you like!

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For the vegetable ingredients, you’ll need of course, Asparagus, as well as some English Peas.  You could use purple, white, or green asparagus- I chose to use green because it kept with the theme of the dish.  I also used frozen peas because that’s all I can find personally, but use what you have available!  Cut your asparagus into bite sized chunks, but save 3-4 stalks to shave into ribbons for the topping of your pasta.  Take a potato peeler, and run it in a long strip down the entire stalk to shave it into ribbons!  Set aside for further use once prepped.

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I know this seems like a crazy ingredient list, but I promise it’s not!  This is the last part I swear!  The last thing you’ll need is some ricotta cheese.  You can definitely use store bought ricotta for this (kite hill, tofutti, etc.) but we chose to make our own!  We have a recipe for our ricotta already on our site here –vegan ricotta recipe– if you’d like to learn how to make it yourself!  Once you have your ricotta made, mix it with some pasta water and salt until it forms a nice creamy sauce, then wait for further use.

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First start out by melting your butter and heating up your olive oil.  Once thats bubbling, add your onions and cook with a little salt for 3-4 minutes over medium heat until softened.  Then add your garlic, lemon zest, and spices and let cook for another 2-3 minutes until fragrant.  After that, you can add in your lemon juice and white wine to deglaze the pan.  Bring this mixture back up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for another 4-5 minutes.  Then you can add in your peas and asparagus, and allow to simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes until the asparagus and peas are cooked through.  Make sure you salt & pepper this to taste as well!

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While your sauce is cooking, boil your pasta according to the package instructions.  MAKE SURE you save some of your pasta water to mix in with your ricotta though!  Spoon your pasta right from the pot into the sauce pan, getting some extra pasta water in there won’t hurt, and mix to combine.  Add your ricotta cheese / pasta water mixture, and a whole bunch of black pepper, and stir to combine.  Allow to cook over a low heat for a minute or two, just to thicken everything up.  While this is thickening, add your asparagus ribbons to your still boiling pasta water on the stove for a minute or so just to cook them through and give that vibrant green color.  After your pasta is ready, transfer it to a serving bowl, top with your asparagus ribbons and some edible flowers, and you’re ready to enjoy!  Hopefully this dish reminds you of summer as much as it did for me!  Thank you for viewing this recipe!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbs vegan butter
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  •  1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 lemons worth zest & juice
  • 1/2 cup white wine (pinot grigio)
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 cup English peas
  • 1/2 lb. paccheri lisci (or any pasta available)
  • 10 oz brazil nut ricotta
  • 1/3 cup reserved pasta water
  • pink himalayan salt & black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbs fresh thyme

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook your pasta according to package instructions, but do not drain.
  2. Take 3-4 stalks of asparagus and shave them with a potato peeler to create ribbons, set aside.
  3. Heat your oil and butter in a pan over medium heat until bubbling, then add your onions.  Allow to sweat for 3-4 minutes, then add your garlic, lemon zest, nutmeg, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper, and fresh thyme.  Allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
  4. Add your lemon juice and white wine to deglaze the pan.  Allow to simmer for five minutes until reduced.
  5. Add in your chopped asparagus and peas and cook for 10-15 minutes over medium – low heat until cooked through.
  6. Make your brazil nut ricotta (as shown here) and mix with the reserved pasta water to create a sauce.
  7. Spoon your cooked pasta straight from the pot into the pan with the vegetables, and stir to incorporate.  Then add your ricotta cheese / pasta water mixture and stir again.  Allow to cook for a few minutes over low heat to thicken the sauce.  While this is cooking, add your asparagus ribbons to the still boiling pot of pasta water on the stove for about a minute just to cook them through.
  8. Transfer your pasta to a serving bowl, and top with more freshly ground black pepper, your asparagus ribbons, and some edible flowers.  Serve & Enjoy.

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