Nom Nom: Ricotta & Parmesan Penne Pasta

This has been a favorite [lost] recipe of mine that I love cooking around this time of year.  I recently found a version of it, via food gal, that is wonderful.  The original recipe can be found in Mark Bittman’s book “How to Cook Everything”.


Penne with Ricotta, Parmesan, and Peas
(makes about 4 servings)

  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 pound penne, ziti, or other cut pasta
  • About 1 cup fresh ricotta, available in Italain and specialty food markets
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter (optional)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste ( very important )
  • Cooked bacon, cut into small pieces – ( or prosciutto ) ( mushrooms optional )

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Salt the boiling water and cook the pasta. While it is cooking, mix together ricotta, butter, and half of the Parmesan in the bottom of a heat-proof bowl (heat proof bowl is important) that’s large enough to sit on top of the pasta pot without falling in. Stick the bowl on top of the pot for a few minutes, while stirring the cheese-butter mixture until it is warm and smooth. Remove bowl and set aside.

When the pasta is just about done, remove about a cup and a half of pasta cooking water. Mix about 3/4 cup of it into your cheese sauce to thin it a little.

Drain pasta. Toss with ricotta mixture, add additional pasta cooking water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in bacon, and other toppings if using any of them. Serve, passing remaining Parmesan at the table.

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