Spring Pasta with Peas, Leek, Cherry Tomatoes and Ricotta

This is a fine example of a completely improvised dish. Where I would go through cookbooks and blogs for hours, ask myself what I would really like to eat that day and then be completely drowned by ideas, unable to decide what to chose. On the day I created this recipe, I had finally come to the conclusion that a pasta bake would be a nice dinner. With some bacon and leek still lying around the fridge and pantry, it would be a hearty affair.

So I started frying the bacon, adding the leek as I went. Chopping up an onion and throwing it into the pan. Then I suddenly thought of the tasty organic spring peas I still had in my freezer and into the pan they went. 10 minutes, a handful of cherry tomatoes and a few tablespoons ricotta later, I decided I had to be a fool to put this mixture into the oven to bake as it was already perfect as it was. In my opinion, the sweet and crunchy peas really made this dish. But then again, I have a thing for peas since my childhood. Especially the very fresh ones we could pick in the garden when we were kids. I very fondly remember the times when we would run through the pea plants, picking the pea pods and greedily opening them, knowing full well the little treasures they contained. Even today, tasting the first freshly picked peas from the garden is a very special moment and brings back these precious childhood memories.

So I stopped there and then with my pasta dish, seasoned the sauce, stirred it through the pasta and we enjoyed a very tasty dinner.


Ingredients for 2

150g short pasta (I used fusilli as I like the way they coat themselves with creamy sauce)
100 g lean bacon, cut into strips
1 leek, chopped
1 medium sized onion, minced
a good handful of spring peas
a dozen cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on their size
200 ml hot vegetable stock
250 g Ricotta
salt and pepper
fresh parsley

Directions

In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions.

In a large pan (I used my wok pan), heat a slug of olive oil on high heat and fry the bacon for about 2 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and add the chopped leek and minced onion. Let them soften, stirring frequently, for about 3-4 minutes. You don’t want to overcook anything in this dish as it takes away the crunch and the fresh taste of the veggies. Toss the spring peas into the mixture and continue the cooking process for 2 or 3 more minutes (depending on whether you use fresh or frozen peas, the cooking time may vary. Try a pea to check if it’s done. It should still be crunchy).

Add the vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Stirr in the ricotta until you obtain a smooth and creamy sauce. You may want to add more ricotta or more stock if you want your sauce to be thicker or less thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, topping your plates with chopped fresh parsley.

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