Monday, May 17, 2010

All Straw No Hay

Straw and Hay. Paglia e Fieno. Usually a mix of spinach and plain pasta with a light (or not so light really) cream sauce dotted with ham and fresh peas. Well, no cream, no spinach, but a nice handful of peas fresh from the garden so I pressed ahead. I had a package of mortadella in the fridge, untraditional but a nice mild porky flavor so I sautéed that -- along with half a finely chopped onion in a mix of butter and olive oil until the meat was just a bit crispy. I tossed in the peas and let them cook for a minute or two and stirred in the remainders of a carton of ricotta left in the fridge. This is one place where American style ricotta -- more creamy and soft than the drained Italian style I usually buy -- might have made a better sauce. I went ahead and stirred the ricotta into the mix and turned off the heat. When the pasta drained I added it along with the mixture from the pan, about 3/4 cup of pasta cooking liquid , a good handful of cracked black pepper and salt, and nearly 1 1/2 cups of shredded parmesan . . . and stirred and stirred and stirred until the heat and the motion came together into a delicate cheesy sauce.
All hay, no straw, no complaints.

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