RECIPE: Pea and Ricotta Pesto Pasta


Since I am in between jobs right now (I resigned from a 12-year post this past summer) I have been sharing a lot more of the meal planning and cooking responsibilities, while taking time to hang with my kiddo. It's been nice, and I feel like I am getting my "fast and furious" cooking skills up to snuff because I am doing more of it. It's been good for me, and I think the time I have had at home has been good for all of us. I am hoping with good planning and prepping, I can still contribute a lot to the quick weeknight meals when I land my next FT gig! Speaking of fast and furious, this recipe came together super fast and is based on a WeightWatcher recipe so it's healthier than most. I decided to cook the vegetables in a pan with spices and seasoning before adding to the sauce and pasta for extra flavor. It turned out wonderfully! It's up to you if you want to cut the fat more by using fat-free ricotta. My hubby hates fat-free anything, he says it tastes like water or paper, so I went low-fat to keep the peace. Be sure to have some freshly grated parmesan on hand for some generous sprinkling.

Pea and Ricotta Pesto Pasta
Adapted from WeightWatcher's Points Plus Cookbook

Ingredients:
16 oz. pasta (we like orecchiette for this dish) cooked according to package directions
1/2 cup reserved pasta water
8 oz. roughly chopped mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp. olive oil
2-3 cups frozen peas
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup store-bought pesto
2 cups low fat or fat-free ricotta
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving pasta water. Return the pasta back into the stock pot and set aside.

In a bowl, mix the ricotta with the pesto and parmesan cheese with the salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook until softened. Add the mushrooms and red pepper flakes and cook until mushrooms begin to release their juices. Add the peas and cook until peas are tender.

Add the vegetables with their juices into the stock pot with the pasta. Toss well, then toss the ricotta mixture to the pasta and toss until pasta is well coated. You may want to put a low flame to the pot to heat the pasta if it's been sitting for a bit. Things may get thick too, so use your pasta water to loosen up the sauce to coat things up. Serve hot with a sprinkle of parsley and extra grated Parmesan.

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