As I write this post, I’m coming off 8 days of eating perfectly al dente pasta tossed with fresh mozzarella or ricotta and doused in ungodly amounts of the best olive oil I’ve ever tasted.
Yes my friends, such a heavenly picture could only happen in Italy, and Adam and I lived it up and ate as much pasta as two people could handle during our vacation in Capri and Rome.
Currently on the long flight home, I have to admit that I’m sensing a teensy bit of a detox coming on… but I have a feeling that by this weekend, I’ll be ready to take some of the food inspiration I gathered from the trip out for a spin.
This recipe’s method is decidedly untraditional, but I like to think that it has a bit of the Italian carefree spirit, since its lightening-fast cook time frees you from the stove so you can get outside and enjoy a summer evening (with an Aperol Spritz in hand – I fell in love with them this trip, more to come on that.) I’ve always shied away from one-pot pasta recipes where you don’t drain the water assuming it would result in either a soggy texture or too al dente, but I decided to give it a try, and boy was I shocked at how amazingly delicious it came together.
This is an infinitely adaptable recipe that allows you to swap in and swap out whatever veggies you have on hand – and as demonstrated by the peas in this one, frozen veggies are perfect for cooking right along with the pasta. No need to even thaw them beforehand. Just keep in mind that different veggies cook at different speeds, so the harder veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, and bell peppers are going to need more time to soften up than tomatoes and peas, which I prefer to throw in just a couple minutes before everything’s ready so they barely soften, without losing their shape.
This is summertime cooking at its finest — bright, zesty, and so simple it’s almost shocking how good it is.
Scroll on for the recipe!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 12-ounce box orrechiette (or other short dried pasta)
- 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
- 2 cups broccolini, ends trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup full-fat ricotta
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon butter
- to serve: parmesan, chopped basil, flaky salt, freshly ground black pepper
- In a dutch oven or large skillet with straight sides, heat olive oil over medium. Sauté sliced garlic for about a minute, until it starts turning golden.
- Add 4 cups hot water, the kosher salt, and the orecchiette. Cook until almost al dente (about 10 min) stirring often and adding a little more water if it all evaporates.
- Add asparagus, broccolini, and frozen peas. Stir for about 3 minutes until veggies start to soften.
- Add tomatoes, ricotta, zest and juice of lemon, and butter, and stir until the pasta is coated in the sauce and tomatoes just start to soften, 1 - 2 minutes.
- Divide among bowls, top with parmesan and basil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and eat!