Asparagus Pasta with Whipped Ricotta & Breadcrumbs
orecchiette pasta with sauteed asparagus, lemon, herbs, whipped ricotta, and homemade breadcrumbs
2 oz crusty bread, cubed (example: sourdough)
1 lemon, zested + juiced
1 cup (8 oz) whole milk ricotta cheese
¼ lb orecchiette pasta
½ lb asparagus, ends cut + peeled + thinly sliced on an angle
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
any fresh soft herbs to garnish – basil, chives, tarragon, etc.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, add the bread to a small food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Heat a 12” skillet over medium heat. Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once hot, add the breadcrumbs and toast until golden brown, stirring often. Transfer the breadcrumbs to a plate lined with paper towels (reserve the skillet) and immediately season with 1 tsp of lemon zest and a good pinch of salt.
Wipe out the food processor and add the ricotta cheese, plus 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with a pinch of salt. Blend until smooth and set aside.
Season the pot of water with salt and drop the pasta in. Stir well and cook according to the package’s instructions.
Meanwhile, wipe out the skillet and add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced asparagus. Saute for about 4-5 minutes until slightly caramelized and tender. Season with a pinch of salt.
Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet. Stir in the lemon juice and toss well to combine. Spread the ricotta onto two plates. Mound the pasta over top. Garnish with the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, fresh herbs, and a drizzle of olive oil.
I find this amount of ricotta to work well in most food processor sizes (I used a standard 8-cup bowl). If you don’t have enough ricotta, it will be difficult to blend, especially in larger food processors. However, you most likely won’t use all of the whipped ricotta for 2 servings. You can save any leftover in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It is great spread onto toast!