At this time of year I have no idea what I’ll make for dinner until I go out to the garden with my harvesting basket and start to gather what’s ripe, what calls to me, and what just might be delicious together and delight my eyes.
Tonight it was the last of the first harvest of favas, plus shell peas, sugarsnap peas, arugula, garlic scapes, mint, basil, parsley and lemon thyme and –to offset the green and give everything a little tart kick–red currants. I happened to have a little proscuitto and fabulous fresh ricotta and a lemon (for zesting) in the fridge and perciatelli and grassy olive oil in the cupboard. Now that’s a meal to share!
Bring to a boil salted water for the pasta in a big pot. As the pasta cooks (I like to use the thick, hollow strands of perciatelli for this dish–takes about 12 minutes to cook), in a heavy sauté pan, in a bit of olive oil over medium heat, sauté torn pieces of proscuitto for 2-3 minutes, add a minced garlic scape or two (or a clove of fresh garlic) and cook for another minute or so, then add the shelled favas & peas, the sugar snaps and cook very quickly until they are warmed but not really cooked.
Cut the mint, arugula and basil into long thin ribbons; chop the parsley and the thyme leaves and add to the pan. Take off the heat.
Scoop a half-cup or so of fresh, creamy ricotta (it is really essential that the ricotta is fresh and not the kind that’s been sitting in a tub for ages) into a shallow pasta serving dish, add several spoonfuls of the pasta water and stir until the the ricotta is about the consistency of yogurt. Add the vegetables, then the cooked pasta brought directly from its pan with tongs (rather than from a colander), a handful of fresh red currants and thin strands of lemon zest to taste. Add pine nuts if you like and/or grate a bit of pecorino romano on top (I don’t think it’s necessary). Serve!