...Asparagus, Bacon & Ricotta Rotini

Spring has sprung and I've been inspired by the beautiful asparagus that is currently in season.  Used in this rotini dish with creamy ricotta and flavourful bacon, it is not only gorgeous to look at but delicious to eat.  On this occasion, I've used Catelli's Healthy Harvest Ancient Grains rotini and the slightly firmer texture compliments the asparagus perfectly.

Ingredients: (Yields ~6 servings)
-1 bunch asparagus spears
-1 cup ricotta cheese
-1 cup grated parmesan cheese
-6 slices of thick cut bacon 
-3 cups rotini
-Extra virgin olive oil
-Salt and pepper to taste

1. Clean the asparagus and snap off the woody ends.  In a large pot of boiling water, cook the asparagus until tender, approximately 4 minutes.  Cut into 1" pieces and set aside.

2. Put the bacon on a foil lined sheet tray and bake for approximately 7 minutes at 350 F until golden brown.  Remove and cut into 1" pieces.

3.  Using the same pot in step 1, boil the pasta in salted water according to the instructions or until al dente.

4. In a large serving bowl, mix the ricotta, most of the grated parmesan cheese (reserve some for garnish), and 3/4 cup of the pasta water into a creamy sauce.  Adjust the amount of pasta water to your liking.

5. Toss the pasta, bacon and asparagus with the cheese sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.

6.  Serve with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese for garnish.


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