Last night, one of my best friends from college texted me asking me for more savory foods on my blog --so this post is for PJ in LA! Love you!
I often sign up for email communications from my favorite websites, stores, etc., hoping to find some great gem of a deal or a fantastic recipe, but more often than not, I get annoyed at the emails that clog my inbox and delete them in a huff. Why do they send me so much crap? I think to myself, as I click my mouse or swipe my screen (iPhone users, you understand) to delete the pesky emails, never once reminding myself that it was I who initiated the email communication by signing up for email alerts.
Sometimes, though, an unexpected gem pops up. Like this recipe. Bon Appetit sent out one of their emails featuring recipes and this pasta just jumped out at me. My eyes fixated on the “Fresh Ricotta”. Recently, I’ve been wanting to use fresh ricotta in everything, mainly because I now know how to make it from scratch and, even though it’s the easiest thing in the world to make, I always feel so accomplished when I do it. Because I’m making CHEESE. Kind of.
So off I ran to the supermarket to pick up ears of corn, a variety of fresh herbs, and some cappellini, which I have never used before and now I knew why. Out of the hundreds of varieties of macaroni (pasta), there was only one box of cappellini left. The box had seen better days (aka, it looked like someone tried to beat the crap out or use it as a whiffle ball bat in a a 5-year old t-ball tournament) so I asked a salesperson for another kind.
“What kind of pasta are you looking for?” he asked, kindly.
“Cappellini.” I told him, my eyes scouring the variety of packed boxes and bags holding an array of different shaped noodles.
“Ha!” He scoffed. I looked at him, confused.
“Good luck,” he said as he walked away.
I could not find any more boxes and contemplated subbing a thin linguine, but I thought better of it, so battered box it was.
I returned home, roasted some garlic and corn, and began to chop the herbs. The nutty smell of the garlic intensified as time passed, while hints of lemon, pine, fennel and onion wafted through the air as my knife chopped through the dill, parsley and chives.
I made a sauce out of fresh lemon, lemon zest, and mashed roasted garlic.
When the cappellini was ready, I tossed the still warm noodles with the lemon and roasted garlic “sauce” and the citrus scent of lemon infused with the nutty roasted garlic and created a wonderful juxtaposition of light and earthy fragrance. I added the herbs, greens, roasted corn, and fresh ricotta cheese, and finally, some grated Manchego cheese.
The dish, besides being beautiful, is one of the most interesting, wonderful summer pasta dishes I have ever tasted. The light notes of the lemon really shone through and was the perfect final touch to the dish that was bursting with flavor from the chives, parsley, and dill especially. The corn provided a nice textural surprise, and of course, the cream ricotta was superb and the mixed greens and radicchio provided a wonderful burst of color, and the Manchego cheese added the most perfect finish to the dish, tying all of the flavors together with it's nutty, sharp flavor.
A true gem, indeed. Keep those emails coming (but not as frequently, please. Thanks.)
Capellini with Fresh Ricotta, Roasted Garlic, Corn and Herbs adapted from Bon Appetit
1 large head of garlic, top 1/2 inch cut off
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 ears of fresh corn with husks
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons grated lemon peel
8 ounces capellini
2 cups (loosely packed) mixed greens
2 cups torn radicchio leaves
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese (7 to 8 ounces)
1/2 cup finely grated Manchego cheese plus shaved Manchego for
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place head of garlic on sheet of foil. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil; wrap foil around garlic and crimp to seal tightly. Place garlic and corn on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until corn is tender and garlic is soft, about 25 minutes for corn and 40 minutes for garlic. Cool slightly.
Squeeze garlic out of skins into large bowl; add any oil from foil. Add lemon juice, lemon peel, and 3 tablespoons oil; mash garlic, then whisk mixture. Shuck corn; cut kernels from cob and transfer to same bowl.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Place in medium bowl; toss with 1 tablespoon oil. Using kitchen shears, cut pasta crosswise several times.
Add pasta, greens, radicchio, ricotta, grated Manchego, and herbs to bowl with garlic mixture; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with shaved Parmesan.