Creamy Lemon Basil and Asparagus Ricotta Pasta with Spicy Morsels

Serves 6. This is another adaptation from the folks at Half-Baked Harvest.  I haven't tried a recipe from them that I didn't like and now that we have beautiful young asparagus, the is so yummy!  I could also see doing this in the winter with mushrooms and sage instead of basil.
  • 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon roasted pistachios, chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound short cut pasta - I used Rigatoncini
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cold salted butter
  • 3-4 lemon slices, chopped, and seeds removed
  • 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 bunch asparagus, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
  • 8 ounces ricotta cheese - whipped, if desired
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a bowl mix the Crazy Crumbs, red pepper flakes, 1/2 of lemon zest with the chopped pistachios and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta to al dente texture. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water and drain the pasta.

While your pasta is cooking, set your skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter and the slices of lemon. Cook until the lemon is caramelized, 2 minutes. Remove the lemon from the skillet and toss with the basil in a small bowl.

To the skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon butter, and the asparagus. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the asparagus is barely tender, 3-5 minutes, depending on thickness of asparagus. Add the garlic and an additional pinch of chili flakes, cook 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Add the wine, then the pasta, ricotta, parmesan, and 1/2 of the lemon/basil mixture. If needed, thin the sauce with the reserved pasta cooking water.

Remove from the heat and serve immediately topped with the morsel mixture and dress each plate with additional basil, lovely shaved parmesan, and lemon zest. Mangia!

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