Linguini with Vegetables and Ricotta
Pasta is probably my favourite food after bread, and if I can have both together I am pretty well in culinary heaven. I cook a lot of pasta dishes, some quick and light, some more substantial and either way they are always satisfying and good in their simplicity.
I made this pasta for dinner using some vegetables that I intended to use and didn’t get around to in the last couple of days. I had Shitake mushrooms that were accidentally left out of a lasagna I made the other day (with kale and mushrooms, recipe to be posted) and I had broccolini and red onion as well as ricotta from the Italian store. I decided to combine these into a pasta dish without tomato sauce or cream. Just a little stock and a little white wine to round up the flavours. You can begin with the vegetables as soon as you put the water for pasta on to boil and it will all finish at the same time. If you cook the vegetables early they can be set aside for a while until the pasta is cooked. When the pasta is cooked return the vegetables to the heat, add the drained pasta, adding a little of the cooking liquid to allow the starch to thicken things up a little. When it’s hot and nicely combined serve immediately, topped with spoonfuls of ricotta.
See below the beautiful Alessi pasta pot from Italy. It’s a work of art. The pot contains a colander inside that makes it easy to drain the pasta without draining the water. When cooking pasta you want to keep some of the water to add to the sauce to thicken or thin it as necessary (the starch from the pasta acts as thickening agent). The Alessi pots are expensive but there are less expensive versions that although not as beautifully designed, work just as well. As you can see I am partial to Italian design. It’s beautiful in it’s simplicity.
1/2 lb linguini
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Hot pepper flakes
8 Shitake mushroom, chopped coarsely
1 bunch broccolini, chopped roughly
A handful of mixed herbs (thyme, rosemary, parsley, sage)
A few cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup stock (vegetable or chicken)
Salt and pepper
To cook the pasta:
Bring your Alessi pot (just kidding, any large pot would do) full of water to a boil.
When the water boils add a bunch of salt. The water will bubble and then subside.
Add the pasta and if you wish add a little olive oil to help prevent over boiling.
Cook the pasta until al dente.
Drain the pasta reserving some of the cooking liquid (about a cup will do) and add the pasta to the pot with the vegetables.
Toss everything together well.
To cook the vegetables:
Heat up oil in a pan that will be large enough to hold the cooked pasta.
Add the onion and cook until translucent.
Add hot pepper flakes.
Add garlic and cook until fragrant, being careful not to burn the garlic.
Add the mushrooms and toss for a couple of minutes.
Add the broccolini and toss to coat with the oil, adding a little more oil if necessary.
Add the white wine and cook until almost evaporates.
Add the stock and cook until vegetables are cooked through but not mushy and the stock is almost evaporated.
Set aside until pasta is ready.
Assembling the dish:
Once the pasta is cooked add it to the vegetables in the pot. Toss to combine, adding a little pasta water as necessary.
To serve, pile pasta into serving bowls, grate parmesan over and spoon a little ricotta over each serving.
Serve at once with additional grated parmesan.