penne with ricotta and asparagus
So simple yet so good: asparagus, ricotta, prosciutto tossed with penne and Pamrigiano-Reggiano makes a perfect mid-week meal.
- Fine sea salt
- 1 1/3 pounds asparagus, trimmed
- 1 1/4 cups fresh ricotta cheese (10 1/2 ounces)
- 1 pound penne
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese
- 5 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, finely chopped
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add asparagus and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Using tongs, transfer asparagus to a bowl, then drain well in a colander (reserve boiling water). Cut off and reserve asparagus tips; roughly chop stems. In a blender, purée asparagus stems, ricotta and 1/4 teaspoon salt until smooth.
Return water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid, drain pasta and transfer to a large serving bowl. Immediately toss with ricotta mixture, then add Parmigiano-Reggiano and prosciutto; toss to combine. Moisten with pasta cooking liquid, by the 1/4 cupful, if desired. Season with salt to taste. Garnish with reserved asparagus tips and serve immediately.
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