SPRING PASTA WITH PEAS, RICOTTA AND MINT

ENGLISH PEAS ARE IN THE MARKET.  IT'S SPRING, AFTER ALL.  I LOVE THEM ON THEIR OWN WITH SALT, GOOD BUTTER AND PRACTICALLY ANY FRESH HERB.  IT'S A CRIME AGAINST NATURE TO OVERCOOK FRESH PEAS, SO TO MAKE THE MOST OF THEM, I STIR THEM INTO SAUCES AT THE LAST MINUTE, ALLOWING THEM TO COOK FOR NO MORE THAN A MINUTE OR TWO.  SUCH IS THE CASE FOR THIS PASTA DISH, WHICH COMBINES THE FLAVORS AND TEXTURES OF PROSCIUTTO, LEMON, RICOTTA, ENGLISH PEAS, AND MINT.  AS YOU CAN SEE FROM MIS-EN-PLACE IN THE PHOTO, THIS RECIPE IS ALL IN THE PREP, SINCE ONCE THE PASTA IS DRAINED, YOU FINISH THE DISH IN THE SAME POT ON TOP OF THE STOVE.  THINGS MOVE QUICKLY IN THIS FINAL, FINISHING PHASE, SO YOU WANT EVERYTHING CHOPPED, GRATED, SQUEEZED AND WITHIN ARM'S REACH.  MAKE SURE TO SCOOP UP ENOUGH PASTA WATER SO YOU CAN THIN OUT THE SAUCE IF IT NEEDS THINNING AT THE END.  AND, WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T OVERCOOK THE PEAS.  

 1 PACKAGE OF BUCATINI, SPAGHETTI OR FETTUCCINE
 1 LEMON
 3 SCALLIONS
  lb PROSCIUTTO OR SERRANO HAM
  cup WHOLE MILK RICOTTA
 2 tbsp HEAVY CREAM
 1 cup PARMESAN CHEESE
 1 cup ENGLISH PEAS
 1 cup FRESH MINT LEAVES
1

BRING A LARGE POT OF WATER TO A BOIL. SALT GENEROUSLY.

MEANWHILE, SHUCK THE PEAS.

TRIM THE SCALLIONS AND CHOP INTO 1/2-INCH ROUNDS.

GRATE THE LEMON ZEST INTO A BOWL. SQUEEZE JUICE INTO THE SAME BOWL.

LAY THE SLICES OF PROSCIUTTO OR SERRANO ON TOP OF EACH OTHER. ROLL LIKE A CARPET AND SLICE INTO 1/2-INCH STRIPS.

FLUFF THE RICOTTA IN A BOWL WITH A FEW TBSPS OF HEAVY CREAM.

GRATE THE PARMESAN.

JULIENNE THE MINT LEAVES.

PUT IN THE PASTA. WHEN IT'S NEARLY DONE, SCOOP UP A CUP OF THE COOKING WATER, THE STARCHIER THE BETTER.

WHEN THE PASTA IS STILL A BIT UNDERDONE, DRAIN IT IN A COLANDER.*

RETURN THE PASTA POT TO THE STOVE ON A MEDIUM LOW FLAME. ADD A SPLASH OF OLIVE OIL AND 3 TBSPS OF BUTTER.

ONCE THE BUTTER HAS MELTED, TOSS IN THE CHOPPED SCALLIONS AND STIR FOR ABOUT 30 SECONDS. STIR IN THE PROSCIUTTO.

DUMP THE PASTA INTO THE POT AND IMMEDIATELY ADD THE LEMON JUICE AND HALF A CUP OF PASTA WATER. GRIND IN A GENEROUS AMOUNT OF PEPPER. STIR VIGOROUSLY.

STIR IN THE RICOTTA, 2 TBSPS OF HEAVY CREAM AND 1/2 CUP OF PARMESAN.

KEEP STIR VIGOROUSLY. THE MIXTURE WITH THICKEN. TOSS IN THE PEAS. KEEP STIRRING FOR ANOTHER 30 SECONDS. THE CONSISTENCY OF THE SAUCE SHOULD BE CREAMY, SO IT COATS THE PASTA. IF IT'S TOO THICK ADD A BIT MORE PASTA WATER.

EMPTY INTO A WARM SERVING BOWL AND TOSS WITH THE MINT LEAVES. SERVE WITH EXTRA PARMESAN ON THE SIDE.

SERVES 4

*NOTE: AN EASY WAY TO HEAT YOUR PASTA BOWL IS TO PLACE IT IN THE SINK WITH THE COLANDER ON TOP. WHEN YOU DRAIN THE PASTA, THE HOT WATER WILL HEAT UP THE BOWL.

Ingredients

 1 PACKAGE OF BUCATINI, SPAGHETTI OR FETTUCCINE
 1 LEMON
 3 SCALLIONS
  lb PROSCIUTTO OR SERRANO HAM
  cup WHOLE MILK RICOTTA
 2 tbsp HEAVY CREAM
 1 cup PARMESAN CHEESE
 1 cup ENGLISH PEAS
 1 cup FRESH MINT LEAVES

Directions

1

BRING A LARGE POT OF WATER TO A BOIL. SALT GENEROUSLY.

MEANWHILE, SHUCK THE PEAS.

TRIM THE SCALLIONS AND CHOP INTO 1/2-INCH ROUNDS.

GRATE THE LEMON ZEST INTO A BOWL. SQUEEZE JUICE INTO THE SAME BOWL.

LAY THE SLICES OF PROSCIUTTO OR SERRANO ON TOP OF EACH OTHER. ROLL LIKE A CARPET AND SLICE INTO 1/2-INCH STRIPS.

FLUFF THE RICOTTA IN A BOWL WITH A FEW TBSPS OF HEAVY CREAM.

GRATE THE PARMESAN.

JULIENNE THE MINT LEAVES.

PUT IN THE PASTA. WHEN IT'S NEARLY DONE, SCOOP UP A CUP OF THE COOKING WATER, THE STARCHIER THE BETTER.

WHEN THE PASTA IS STILL A BIT UNDERDONE, DRAIN IT IN A COLANDER.*

RETURN THE PASTA POT TO THE STOVE ON A MEDIUM LOW FLAME. ADD A SPLASH OF OLIVE OIL AND 3 TBSPS OF BUTTER.

ONCE THE BUTTER HAS MELTED, TOSS IN THE CHOPPED SCALLIONS AND STIR FOR ABOUT 30 SECONDS. STIR IN THE PROSCIUTTO.

DUMP THE PASTA INTO THE POT AND IMMEDIATELY ADD THE LEMON JUICE AND HALF A CUP OF PASTA WATER. GRIND IN A GENEROUS AMOUNT OF PEPPER. STIR VIGOROUSLY.

STIR IN THE RICOTTA, 2 TBSPS OF HEAVY CREAM AND 1/2 CUP OF PARMESAN.

KEEP STIR VIGOROUSLY. THE MIXTURE WITH THICKEN. TOSS IN THE PEAS. KEEP STIRRING FOR ANOTHER 30 SECONDS. THE CONSISTENCY OF THE SAUCE SHOULD BE CREAMY, SO IT COATS THE PASTA. IF IT'S TOO THICK ADD A BIT MORE PASTA WATER.

EMPTY INTO A WARM SERVING BOWL AND TOSS WITH THE MINT LEAVES. SERVE WITH EXTRA PARMESAN ON THE SIDE.

SERVES 4

*NOTE: AN EASY WAY TO HEAT YOUR PASTA BOWL IS TO PLACE IT IN THE SINK WITH THE COLANDER ON TOP. WHEN YOU DRAIN THE PASTA, THE HOT WATER WILL HEAT UP THE BOWL.

SPRING PASTA WITH PEAS, RICOTTA AND MINT
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