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the birthday dish continued

Even though I made a breakfast omelet for my mom on her birthday a couple of days ago, I had been planning on cooking some dinner for us as well. We’d been planning on going out but after looking at my budget, I changed up our plans and decided to say in. It’s funny, cooking for her isn’t a new thing as the kitchen is clearly my territory but she gets a kick out of me making dinner specifically for her on her birthday.

To counteract the impending decadent dessert that was chilling in the fridge, my mom requested a light pasta dish that would blend well with the asparagus. Spaghetti? Too boring. Fettucine Alfredo? Too heavy. Lasagna? Too much. Finally, I remembered seeing a pasta dish over at Elise’s wonderful site, Simply Recipes. This dish is no stranger to us though as I made this once in the dead heat of summer last year. It literally comes together in two seconds. Perfect for us two gals who had just come back home from an afternoon watching a mediocre film and a stroll through the mall.

The ricotta adds a nice salty and smooth flavor to the pasta. It contrasts beautifully with the sugary peas and spongey mushrooms. If you are a fan of complex textures, this is the pasta dish for you. From the al dente pasta to the soft veggies, you won’t be let down.

Some people hate whole wheat pasta, but I am a fan. Not only is it healthier, but it adds a nice nutty bite that regular pasta doesn’t have. In this dish, that nuttiness blends seamlessly with the cheese and vegetables. If it tastes good and helps the heart out, why not?

I made the pasta while the asparagus roasted in the oven, and within 10 minutes are dinner was complete. It filled us up perfectly. I know that this will definitely be made again once summer comes and it’s too hot/sticky to do anything else in the kitchen and yet you are craving some savory pasta. And the birthday girl’s opinion? She loved every bite.

Pasta With Peas, Mushrooms & Ricotta
adapted from Elise’s Simply Recipes

7 ounces of whole wheat pasta pasta (depending on your preferences)
1 clove garlic, peeled and mashed
8 oz ricotta cheese
2 Tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup frozen peas
1 cup of fresh sliced mushrooms
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a couple teaspoons of salt. Bring the water back to a boil and add the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, heat a nonstick skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil and saute the garlic, careful not to burn it. Add the mushroom and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the frozen peas and a few tablespoons of the pasta water. Stir and cook the pea mixture, seasoning to taste (I added a little more salt and pepper). After 3-4 minutes, turn the heat off and set aside.

Add the ricotta, remaining olive oil, and a couple of tablespoons of the pasta cooking water. Mix together in the bowl.

When the pasta is done, drain it, and add the pasta to the pea mixture, tossing the pasta around to mix. Fold in the ricotta mixture,n watching as the ricotta cheese melts into the pasta. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and several dashes of rosemary, my favorite. Add some of the reserved pasta water if needed.

Top the dish off with some grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

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May 7, 2008 - 12:23 pm

Shirley - This pasta sounds great. How do you roast your asparagus?

May 7, 2008 - 2:53 pm

eastside resident - I am a vegetarian and this recipe is perfect to me. I am going to try it tomorrow. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

May 7, 2008 - 3:46 pm

Amanda - Shirley, I normally trim my asparagus, toss it with some olive oil and salt and pepper, and then roast my asparagus at 450 Fahrenheit for about 10-15 minutes. You can also broil it, if you prefer them crispier.

May 7, 2008 - 4:12 pm

steph - that looks really good–i love throw together pasta dishes! and i really prefer the taste of whole wheat pasta to regular now, and get slightly irritated if i can’t find the particular shape i’m looking for in whole wheat form!

May 7, 2008 - 4:33 pm

DessertObsessed - that looks so yummy! i’m just searching around, looking for a pasta dish for dinner, and i think this might be it!

what’d you make for dessert??

May 7, 2008 - 7:05 pm

michelle - i love the flavor of whole wheat pasta, and you can never go wrong with tossing some ricotta in. plus asparagus, yum. looks great.

May 8, 2008 - 1:49 am

dinu - Good post to read when I am hungry !!!!!!!!!!11

May 8, 2008 - 2:14 am

Yudhy Herlambang - Hmm..yummy

May 8, 2008 - 6:32 am

allison - I made this last night and loved it – minus the rosemary and asparagus because I am out of rosemary and asparagus is blech.

Anyway, thanks for the recipe!

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