Friday, October 30, 2015

Lemon Ricotta Orzo with Crispy Prosciutto

Not yet ready for pumpkin everything? Wade into autumn with this perfect blend of zesty lemon ricotta (remember summer?) and toasted walnuts with crispy prosciutto (hello, fall). Surprisingly easy to make, especially if you toast your walnuts ahead of time, and a delightful balance between tasting decadent and feeling light.

For the pesto:
1 1/2 cups packed basil leaves
1 large or 2 small cloves garlic
1 handful baby arugula
1 tbsp pine nuts
1 giant spoonfuls ricotta
Zest of 1 lemon
Generous drizzle olive oil
Slosh white or rose wine

For the pasta:
1 rounded cup whole wheat orzo pasta
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
(toast for 7-9 minutes at 400° until fragrant and golden brown)
2 slices prosciutto, diced (optional)
1 handful baby arugula
1 giant spoonful ricotta

Combine the pesto ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth.

Heat 1 1/4 cups water in a small pot to bring to a boil. Add the orzo and a pinch or two of salt, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer 8 minutes, or 1 minute less than package directions suggest.

Meanwhile, heat a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil, then scatter the prosciutto in a single layer to fry. Fry about 2 minutes, stirring halfway through, until crispy. Drain and set aside in a small dish.

When the orzo is done, return the nonstick pan to the stove and set over medium-low heat. Drizzle with olive oil, then add the orzo and pesto and fold to combine. Let heat through for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, then fold in your second heaping spoonful of ricotta. Add a handful of arugula, fold to combine, and turn off the heat.

Serve into soup plates, scatter liberally with prosciutto and walnuts, and serve hot.

Serves 2 with a side salad.