Pasta with Asparagus, Sausage & a Ricotta Surprise

I’ve been having a terrible time loading pictures and getting my blog to work the way I want it to on blogger so I’ve decided to take the wordpress plunge and see what happens over here. To christen my new blog space, I thought I start by uploading a ton of pictures and throw a recipe at you. This is one of Rachael Ray’s creations, only she uses broccoli instead of asparagus. No one in our house like broccoli, so I just substituted a veggie that we’ll eat. I think you could do it just as easily with peppers or something else.

I made this for dinner the other night and it was so good and a lot easier than it looks. First gather a few ingredients – okay, maybe more than a few.

ingredients
You will need some pasta, 1 cup of ricotta cheese, a lemon, a pound of asparagus, one medium onion, 4 (count them four) large cloves of garlic, some parsley, a pound of italian sausage, olive oil, salt & pepper and chicken stock.

recipe 1

Start a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Put the ricotta cheese in a small bowl,

recipe 3

add the zest of one lemon (I used my microplane which is one of the BEST things ever created!)

recipe 5

and some salt & pepper and mix it all together. Put the bowl aside to bring it all to room temperature.

recipe 6

You’re going to break up the sausage into little pieces so you’re going to need to get it out of the casing. Just make a cut down the side

recipe 7

and peel the casing off and

recipe 9

dump them in the pan with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil. Using a wooden spoon or paddle

recipe 10

start breaking apart the sausage. Do it now – it’s much easier than when it gets more completely cooked.

recipe 12

While the sausage is doing it’s thing (for about 6 or 8 minutes), get the asparagus ready to go. Break off the tough bottom part of one of the stems (holding the top of the stalk in one hand and the bottom in the other hand, simply snap the asparagus. The woodier part of the stalk will break off),

recipe 13

then line it up with the rest of the asparagus and cut.

recipe 14

Cut the asparagus into 1″ pieces and put it aside.

recipe 16

Chop the garlic

recipe 17

and the onion. Your water should be boiling so you can add the pasta and start it cooking. You want to cook it to about one minute under their cooking time because it will continue cooking in the sauce.

recipe 15

By now the sausage should be browned and ready to go –

recipe 15a

and dump it on a paper towel to drain a bit. Using the same pan from the sausage

recipe 18

add the asparagus and the onion and cook for two or three minutes.

recipe 19

Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two (is there any other smell that compares to garlic & onion cooking?)

recipe 20

Dump the sausage back into the pan

recipe 21

and add 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and let it do its thing for two or three minutes to let  all the good flavors meld together.

recipe 22

From the pasta pot, add a ladle full of the starchy water to the sausage mixture. I don’t know why – I just know it tastes really good!

recipe 23

While your sausage pan is bubbling along, chop the parsley

recipe 25

and juice your lemon.

recipe 26

Pour the lemon juice into the mixture,

recipe 27

add the parsley and give it a good stir.

recipe 28

Drain the pasta and add it to the pan. Mix well and let it cook for a minute or so so the pasta absorbs all the good juices and flavors.

recipe 29

Put 1/4  of the ricotta mixture in each bowl

recipe 30

and load the pasta up on top. Add a handful of parmesan cheese to each bowl and mix very carefully.

recipe 31

The heat from the pasta and the sausage will melt the ricotta cheese mixture, making the whole dish creamy and divine! I cannot tell you how good this meal was, and it was just as tasty the 2nd night when we heated up the leftovers. This supposedly serves 4 but we could easily have stretched it to 6. They were very big portions.

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2 Responses to “Pasta with Asparagus, Sausage & a Ricotta Surprise”

  1. Damian Says:

    Looks absolutely divine. Nice way to introduce your new home.

  2. Ms. Huis Herself Says:

    Oh, YUM! That sounds great! I just wish our girls liked things all mixed together, but I could always leave their portions of sausage, veg, pasta separate…

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