Orecchiette pasta, native to Apuglia in south eastern Italy, are so named because they resemble little ears.
In this recipe, Orecchiette are served with fresh peas, garlic scapes, lemon juice and ricotta cheese.
The one ingredient you may not be familiar with in this recipe are the garlic scapes. Depending on where you buy them, scapes may look like long curling green beans with little white bulbs still attached. Or, they may just look like long, thin, green stems bunched together.
Garlic scapes are tender, delicious and have a mellow garlic aroma. They are a great addition to soups, dips and in this case, pasta.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp dried chili flakes
- 1 cup of chopped garlic scapes (about 1/2 bunch)
- 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen peas
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1/4 cup of ricotta cheese
- Juice from 1/4 to 1/2 lemon depending on taste
- Orecchiette pasta for 2
- 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped fresh basil
- Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1/2 tsp Sea salt for seasoning
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and sweat until translucent, stirring occasionally, for about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the chili flakes and stir fry for 30 seconds.
- Add garlic scapes and peas and about 1/4 cup of water. Cook, stirring occasionally for 4 minutes.
- Add the ricotta cheese, lemon zest and lemon juice and stir well to combine. Add 1/2 tsp of sea salt and stir again. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, prepare the Orecchiette pasta according to packet instructions. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.
- Add pasta to pea-scape mixture together with about 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Toss over a medium heat for about 1-2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add basil and lots of freshly grated parmigino reggiano and toss well. Add a little more pasta water to moisten if necessary. Serve immediately.