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cavatappi salad with peas, ricotta, basil & mint

Serves 8 as an appetizer or 4 as a main course

Cavatappi is a fabulous dried pasta. Its curly shape makes it ideal for sauces that cling to the pasta, like this ricotta paste with fresh mint. The ricotta sauce can also be used as a delicious dip.

  • 1 pound dried cavatappi pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup fresh green peas (or frozen peas, thawed)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Two minutes before the pasta is finished cooking, add ½ cup of the peas to the pasta water. Drain the pasta and peas and set aside, mixing in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking together. Meanwhile, in a food processor, mix the ricotta, garlic, the remaining green peas, plus the mint and basil, until the mixture forms a paste. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the paste while it is processing.

When the pasta has cooled, toss in the ricotta paste and pine nuts and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the Parmesan cheese. Serve at room temperature.

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