Penne and Asparagus with Ricotta Cheese
1 box of ﬁber-enriched penne pasta (Alexander suggests Ronzoni Smart Taste Penne Rigate)
1 pound trimmed asparagus, cut into 2-inch diagonal pieces
2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic
1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese (Alexander suggests Precious)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup reduced-fat grated Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Crushed red pepper ﬂakes, to taste, optional
1. Cook the pasta according to package directions, omitting any oil or butter.
2. Two to four minutes before the pasta is done, add the asparagus to the water (two minutes for thin spears, four minutes for thick).
3. Before draining, reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water in a small bowl. Drain the pasta.
4. Meanwhile, add the garlic, ricotta, and olive oil to a large serving bowl. As soon as the pasta is drained, mix in 1/3 cup of the reserved pasta water.
5. Immediately add the pasta and asparagus and gently toss until the pasta and asparagus are coated with the cheese mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Gently toss again.
6. If the mixture seems too dry, add more reserved pasta water, about 1/4 cup at a time, until no longer dry.
7. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the pasta. If desired, sprinkle with the red pepper ﬂakes. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings. Each (about 2-cup) serving has 318 cals, 15g protein, 60g carbohydrates, 7g fat, 2g saturated fat, 18mg cholesterol, 9g ﬁber, 183mg sodium.
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