Asparagus Pasta with Lemon, Pepper, Ricotta and Peas

I like to use Rustichella Abruzzo Casareccia pasta for this dish. It has a lovely chewy al dente texture. You could add crispy pancetta instead of the nuts; cut back on the salt if you do.

300 g pasta (about 6 handfuls)
1 bunch asparagus, washed and trimmed
1 c fresh green peas
1 c ricotta
juice and zest of ½ lemon
2 T shelled walnuts or pistachios, roughly chopped
olive oil
sea or kosher salt and freshly-cracked pepper
Parmigiano for grating

Chop the asparagus into bite-side chunks, reserving the tips. Cook the pasta in salted water according to the package instructions. While it’s cooking, sauté the asparagus in olive oil to soften a bit. Add the ricotta, lemon juice and zest to the pan. Drain the pasta reserving the pasta water. Place the pasta back into the pot. Over low heat, add the ricotta mixture a ladle at a time, along with pasta water as needed. Add peas, asparagus tops, toss gently, season with a generous crack of black pepper. Taste for seasoning, adding more pepper, salt or lemon juice if needed.

Divide among four plates, toss nuts over and pass more Parmigiano for grating.

Serves 4.