Gemelli Principessa with Spring Asparagus

Gemelli Principessa with Spring Asparagus



(Serves 4-6)

  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 large bunch small or medium asparagus
  • 1 lb imported gemelli or fusilli
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup pine nuts, toasted (some reserved for garnish)
  • 1 cup sheep’s milk ricotta (or best quality fresh whole milk ricotta)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano- Reggiano
  • 20 large fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • lemon zest for garnish


  •  Bring a large pot of water to boil and add 1 tbsp salt.
  • Cut 2” off tips of asparagus (Reserve the rest for another use)
  • Black asparagus tips in boiling water 3-4 minutes until tender. Transfer to a colander and run under cold water to stop cooking.
  • Bring the same water to a boil and add the pasta to cook through- al dente.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil and add 1 tablespoon of pine nuts, asparagus tips, 1 teaspoon of salt. Simmer for 2 minutes.
  • When the pasta is cooked al dente, use a spider to transfer to the pan. Add ricotta, pepper, and ½ cup of the pasta cooking water.
  • Raise the heat to high and toss for 30 seconds, until pasta is well coated. Add cheese and basil, tossing.
  • Transfer to a large platter and garnish with reserved pine-nuts, basil, and serve.





Donatella Arpaia

Donatella Arpaia is a chef, restaurateur, entrepreneur, and mother. She has built an empire of successful restaurants drawing on the skills, passion, methods, and love for food she learned from her family.

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