Lemon-Ricotta Spaghetti with Smashed Peas

Lemony-Ricotta Spaghetti with Smashed Peas
Do you ever have those “YES I CAN!” sort of days? I’m talking about the kind where you wake up ready to scale small mountains: think mustering the rib-sticking ambition to write a chapbook of poems or map out your tour of Europe or make homemade brioche and kouign-amann. Most of the time, I get three pages into my memoir, decide its future title and what my name would be if I wanted to pretend it was fiction “inspired by true events,” then eat an entire row of Oreos, say it was Dan, and call it a day. If you are NOT having days like that (i.e., those that are unproductive, though your intentions predicted otherwise), then you probably don’t need this pasta (but it’s OK if you still want some).

I say this because this recipe perfectly complements the need to allocate efforts. As in, if you haven’t attained mastery of any difficult foreign languages in the last 24 hours, and you know like you KNOW that you are at least going to try to, it isn’t going to steal any of your much-needed energy.

Simply caramelize some shallots and diced serrano pepper and take out your aggression on some frozen peas. Then, add ricotta and some starchy cooking liquid leftover from your spaghetti and stir until creamy and smooth. Add pasta, chives, lemon zest, and more cheese. BAM. Deliciousness achieved, and with zero effort.

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Lemony Ricotta Spaghetti with Smashed Peas
Serves 2-3

8 oz dried spaghetti
2 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1 serrano pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
salt and ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
2 tbsp parmesan, grated (plus more for serving)
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp fresh chives, thinly sliced

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on high heat. Add pasta and cook until tender, but still firm to the bite (aka al dente), following package instructions, and reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Add shallots, serrano pepper, salt, and ground pepper, stirring occasionally until shallots are translucent. Add peas to the pan and use a wooden spoon to smash the peas. Turn the heat down to low, then add the ricotta cheese. Pour in 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking liquid at a time to smooth the sauce (using up to 1/2 a cup if necessary). Add cooked pasta noodles to ricotta mixture, tossing to combine. Add parmesan, lemon zest, chives, and additional salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately with additional grated parmesan.

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