bowties with sugar snaps, lemon and ricotta

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Bowties with Sugar Snaps, Ricotta and Lemon

As sugar snap season comes and goes all to quickly for my addicted tastes, consider this a template for any green vegetable — segments of asparagus, green beans, snow pea pods, or whole sweet peas — that you think might enjoy some lemon/ricotta/parmesan/salt/pepper treatment. Most of these other vegetables will benefit from 2 to 3 minutes boiling time, so add them earlier in the pasta cooking process.

For a more wintery riff on a lazy weeknight it’s-not-unhealthy-because-it’s-got-lotsa-green-stuff-in-it vegetable pasta dish, there’s this garlic-punched favorite.

Serves 4 to 6 (main course-style), up to 8 as a first course

Salt for pasta water
1 pound sugar snaps
1 pound dried pasta bowties
1/2 cup (about 1 ounce) finely grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
Glug, then drizzle, of olive oil
Coarse or fine sea salt for sprinkling
Ground black pepper or red pepper flakes
Juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste
Few leaves of mint, slivered
1 cup ricotta; use fresh if you can find or have motivation to make it

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to boil. While waiting, string sugar snaps and cut into 1/2-inch segments. Cook bowties for two minutes less than the suggested cooking time on the package, then add sugar snaps to pasta. Cook for one minute more. Reserve one cup pasta cooking water, then drain sugar snaps and bowties. Add them back to the empty pot with 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, grated cheese, a glug of olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook on high for one minute, tossing constantly. Add a splash more cooking water if pasta looks too dry. Turn heat off, dollop ricotta all over in large spoonfuls and, without stirring, tip pasta mixture into a wide serving bowl. (I do this because I love the idea of finding slightly unmixed pockets of ricotta.) Drizzle pasta with a small amount of olive oil, then squeeze lemon juice over the whole dish, sprinkle with mint, and finish with an extra sprinkling of parmesan. Serve quickly; eat happily.

(Lemon juice, rather rudely, discolors green vegetables so be sure to add this only right before serving, and when it will be eaten before anyone will care.)


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