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LEMON RICOTTA ORZO WITH BABY PEAS

Ugh- this was so delicious that I ate it too fast. Plus, three cheers for a pantry staple recipe that tastes like spring! The bright lemon with sweet baby (petite pois) peas, creamy and mild ricotta, garlic, and Parm, and the spoonable, soft shape of orzo pasta is perfect. (Add fresh mint for extra points.) You will get addicted to how easy this is--both to eat and to make. I used frozen baby peas because they are small and bursty, flash-frozen at picking, which makes them super sweet, but regular frozen peas are good too. Use what you have.



Notes: Butter is unsalted. Ricotta cheese is 'part skim' ricotta.


LEMON RICOTTA ORZO WITH BABY PEAS

Ingredients: 16 ounces orzo, 2 cups frozen baby peas, 2 tbsp. butter, 15 ounces ricotta cheese, 1/3-1/2 cup pasta cooking water, 2 tsp. grated garlic, zest, and juice of 1 large lemon, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1 tsp. sea salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, 2 tbsp. chopped parsley or mint.

Serves 4-6.


1. Cook the orzo and peas: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and tip in the orzo. Cook for 6 minutes, then add the frozen baby peas. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the peas are cooked and the orzo is al dente. Reserve 1/2 of the cooking liquid, then drain.


2. Make the sauce: Turn the heat to low. Add the butter and half of the pasta cooking water to the same pot you cooked the pasta in. Whisk in the ricotta cheese, salt, and pepper. Whisk well, then add the grated garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese, and more cooking water if necessary. Continue whisking to heat through until very creamy.


3. Add in the orzo and peas: Tip in the orzo and peas directly from the strainer. Fold to combine with the sauce. Serve immediately with extra parm and fresh chopped parsley or mint.


TIPS


  1. Bulk it up/add meat protein: Stir in 2 cups of precooked, seasoned chicken when you stir the orzo into the sauce.

  2. Make it extra lemony: Use two small lemons instead of 1 large, and add a few wedges on the side for spritzing.

  3. Make it richer: Use whole milk ricotta instead of part-skim, and double the butter.


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