Even before I married into a big Italian family I liked pasta. These days I pretty much LOVE pasta. Can’t get enough of it. Can you? I mean, who doesn’t smile at the thought of those soft, tender, just-chewy-enough noodles that act as host to so many glorious flavors and textures? Pasta can “go” with nearly anything, from tomatoes to meat to cheese to vegetables. This one is loaded with cheese, walnuts, peas, prosciutto, olive oil, butter, and parsley. Could it get any better?!
Try it. No one will be disappointed.
Pasta with Walnut Ricotta Pesto
I find a lot of pasta dishes addictive and this one pretty much tops the list. It’s hard to let even a little bit remain clinging to the side of the pan. The first time I made this, I didn’t tell my family that there were walnuts in the sauce, fearing they would turn up their noses if they knew about them. They cleaned their plates and asked for seconds. We all love the slight crunch.
Serves 4 to 6
11/2 cups walnut pieces, toasted
2 garlic cloves
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound pasta, such as penne, farfalle, or orecchiette
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 ounces prosciutto, very thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the pesto: In the bowl of a food processor, process the walnuts and garlic until finely ground. Scrape into a serving bowl and add the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, parsley, and salt. Mix well and set aside at room temperature.
To make the pasta: Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Before draining, reserve about 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the pesto and mix well. Mix the pasta water into the pasta if the pesto seems too thick, adding it a tablespoon at a time.
Gently toss in the butter, peas, and prosciutto. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve right away.