Orecchiette from the Italian orecchia, meaning ‘ear’ and -etta, meaning ‘small’ is a pasta typical of Apulia, a region of Southern Italy. their names comes from their shape which resembles a small ear.
“My Lemon Ricotta Pasta can be done and on the table in under 30 minutes. Perfect for weeknights or to serve when entertaining. Quick and easy using a few simple ingredients. Let’s get started.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 to 12 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) saucepot, 1 (4-quart) sauce pot, hand-held juicer, Microplane, hand-held lemon zester, chef’s knife
Note: First, zest the lemons and use a lemon zester for the thin peels. Set aside.
1 (16-ounce) box of Orecchiette
2 cups of good ricotta cheese, double-cream (substitute whole milk)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, freshly grated
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 to 1 cup of starchy pasta cooking liquid
4 lemons, 1 juiced, 3 zested, plus the fine curly peels of 1 lemon for garnish
1/4 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Pecorino-Romano cheese, freshly grated
Note: I’m only using 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt in the lemon ricotta cream sauce because Pecorino-Romano cheese is a bit saltier than let’s say Parmesan, and you don’t want the dish to be too salty, plus I added salt to the pasta water so the pasta is already good and seasoned.
In a large saucepot of boiling salted water, drop the pasta. Give a good stir and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 12 minutes. After 8 minutes test for doneness. The pasta should be al dente.
Note: If needed, add another 1/2 cup of the hot starchy pasta cooking liquid to achieve a smooth creamy consistency.
In another saucepot over medium-low heat add olive oil, grated garlic, lemon juice, the zest of 1 lemon, and red pepper flakes, stir to combine. Cook until the garlic is fragrant 1 to 2 minutes. Add the ricotta cheese and 1/2 a cup of the hot starchy pasta cooking liquid, stir to combine. Add Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, again, stir to combine.
Using a large slotted spoon, transfer pasta into the sauce. Add an additional 2 tablespoons of lemon zest, and the remaining Italian flat-leaf parsley. Stir to combine.
Ladle a good helping of the pasta into a porcelain serving bowl. Top with freshly grated Pecorino-Romano cheese. Garnish with a few thin ribbons of lemon peel and lemon slices. Serve immediately. There you have it, my Lemon Ricotta Pasta.