Seasonal Pastas

After returning from Italy I vowed to take a pasta hiatus. I thought I had eaten enough carbohydrate goodness to last me a long while. No such luck. All of the beautiful seasonal produce that greeted me at the farmers market when we returned home in June seemed to be begging to be made into a pasta dish! While I love the simplicity of fresh sugar snap peas as a snack, and could eat sautéed swiss chard and garlic by the plateful, I kept finding myself wanting to bulk up these veggies and turn them into seasonal pastas. Buon appetito!

I thought I was saying "Ciao" to pasta for a while!

I thought I was saying “Ciao” to pasta for a while!

Penne with Sugar Snap Peas, Ricotta, and Lemon

The always pleasing Smitten Kitchen was my guide for this recipe. Instead of buying ricotta, Deb (I like to think I’m on a first name basis with the SK creator) has you make your own, which is a culinary project I’d always been intimidated by. Well, maybe not as intimidated as I was lazy to go out and buy cheese cloth that I’d likely only use once. Oh how glad I am that I took the plunge. Turns out, making ricotta was a breeze and I felt extremely proud of my homemade creamy spread.

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On to the recipe. The only change I made was to sub whole wheat penne for bowtie- I like how the tubes “sucked up” all the creamy ricotta goodness! I also adapted to recipe to feed two, really meaning two helpings for myself- it’s aaaalll for me.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound sugar snap peas
  • 1/2 pound pasta
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino or parmesan
  • olive oil, sea salt, black pepper
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup homemade ricotta, recipe here

Directions

  1. Bring large pot of water to a boil, then add pasta. Meanwhile, string snap peas and cut into 1/2 inch segments.
  2. Cook pasta 2 minutes under al dente and add snap peas to the boiling pasta. Cook for one minute and reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. Drain snap peas and pasta.
  3. Add pasta and peas back into pot with a 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water, grated cheese, salt, and fresh ground black pepper,  along with a good glug of olive oil. Cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Add a tiny bit more pasta water if it starts to look dried out.
  4. Take pot off the heat and add ricotta, mixing it ever so gently. Spoon pasta in bowls and top with fresh squeezed lemon juice and an extra sprinkle of grated cheese. Enjoy!

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Seasonal Spaghetti “Carbonara”

Growing up, my sister’s favorite dinner was spaghetti carbonara- a quick and easy meal of pasta, cheese, eggs, olive oil, and bacon. This is a classic Roman dish that can really be adapted to host many different varieties of the above ingredients (for example, butter instead of oil, or pancetta instead of bacon) , but to me, you can add or skip any of them. As long as you’re incorporating the egg step, you’ve got a carbonara! I decided to make a seasonal veggie “carbonara” with the beautiful swiss chard I brought home from working at the farmers market. I also made this dish to serve one, seeing as the fiancé (!) is not the biggest fan of chard- more for me! If you’re feeding more, multiply accordingly.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup spaghetti- or linguine, bucatini, fettuccine
  • 3 cups raw swiss chard chopped- this will yield about 1.5 cups cooked
  • 1/4 cup sliced yellow onion
  • 1 garlic clove diced
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half
  • 1 egg
  • sprinkle of grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
  • glug of white wine
  • olive oil, juice of 1/2 lemon, sea salt, fresh cracked black pepper

Directions

  1. Boil pot of water for pasta and cook to al dente perfection. Strain- saving a small amount of the cooking water- and set aside when finished.
  2. In a small bowl, scramble one egg and add a small sprinkle of cheese to this mixture. Set aside.
  3. Heat pan and add tablespoon of olive oil. Add sliced onions and sauté until translucent, then add diced garlic, cooking until fragrant. Toss halved tomatoes into pan and let cook 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add swiss chard to pan with a glug of white wine. Cover and cook 3-4 minutes until chard starts to become tender. Remove top and add strained pasta to the pan with a small amount of the reserved pasta water. Cook until most of liquid has evaporated.
  5. Remove pasta from heat and very quickly add egg/cheese mixture, stirring constantly to avoid curdling. The result should be a slightly creamy “sauce” that coats the pasta and veggies.
  6. Serve up in a bowl, top with a final squeeze of lemon juice and finish with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (lots of it!). Dig in!

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