Gemelli Principessa with Spring Asparagus
- 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.