Wagon wheel pasta with peas, bacon and ricotta

By Daphne Oz
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Ingredients

  • 1 pound wagon wheel-shaped pasta
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 pound bacon, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups fresh spring peas
  • 1 cup cannellini beans, cooked
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, leaves and tender stems minced
  • Red chile flake (optional)
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Directions

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the pasta and cook until 1 minute shy of package instructions.  Reserve 1 cup of pasta water and drain.

2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a plate, adding back to the pan any drippings that accumulate – don’t waste the flavour! 

3. Add the shallots to the pan with the oil and rendered bacon fat and cook until soft, 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute, being careful not to let it brown.  Add the broth and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any caramelized brown bits at the bottom of the pan.  Stir in the peas and beans and simmer until tender and heated through, about 2 minutes. 

4. Remove pan from the heat, then add the cooked pasta to the peas mixture with the remaining olive oil, ricotta cheese, and a nice splash (start with 2-3 tablespoons and add more as needed) of the reserved pasta water and stir to coat – the starch in the pasta water will help create a luscious sauce that coats every noodle! Scatter the bacon and parmesan overtop, toss and taste for seasoning.  Transfer to a large serving bowl – grown ups may want to add a little chile flake to yours – garnish with the fresh parsley, and enjoy!

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