Rigatoni & Asparagus with Lemon Ricotta Cream

Over easy eggs can finish a meal like nothing else. And this creamy and lemony pasta dish is complete once it’s topped with a silky smooth, over easy egg. Once the yolk breaks over the dish and falls into the tiny crevices of the rigatoni, there is nothing more you need! The best part of this dish, it’s so quick to put together! This is great in a pinch for dinner but I think it would be nice served for brunch also. This serves 3-4 people.

  • 1/2 pound rigatoni, cooked al dente
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed to the length of the rigatoni and blanched
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • freshly grated nutmeg, just a touch
  • fresh ground pepper
  • sea salt
  • 3-4 eggs
  • 3-4 pats unsalted butter

When I cooked my rigatoni, about half way through I threw in the asparagus but if you are unsure of times, you can cook it separately. (Anything to avoid more dishes, lol) Combine the ricotta cheese, heavy cream, lemon zest, juice, nutmeg, salt and fresh ground pepper until well combined. Into the lemon ricotta cream, pour in the rigatoni and toss  gently until each piece of rigatoni is coated. Top each serving with an over easy egg cooked in butter and pass around the freshly ground pepper. Enjoy!

Grilled Salmon, Portabella Mushroom, Asparagus & Cannellini Beans with Plum Dressing

What a gorgeous day! It’s just beautiful out here on the east coast. It’s a day that something wonderful in your life should be celebrated. Anything, a job that you love, a wonderful spouse that makes you laugh, a good friend you can count on, your loyal pet, an outfit that makes you feel good, a deep understanding that you were seeking and found, that perfect eyeliner that makes your eyes sparkle…It’s a day to celebrate something wonderful, no matter how big or small. And I love celebrating with food and this is a salad that is delicious, light yet truly satisfying. Enjoy and celebrate something wonderful today! ;)

  • 2 pieces wild caught salmon, about 6 oz each
  • 1 small head of Boston lettuce, ripped up
  • 2 portabella mushrooms
  • 7 oz. cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons plum sauce
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pat of unsalted butter
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • five spice powder
  • 1/4 cup pear infused vinegar

This dish is easy but once I start explaining the directions, it can sound a little complicated. I used aluminum foil for easy clean up, if not you can cook directly on the flat cast iron pan. If using the foil, make three separate “bowls,” (using 2 sheets, cut to size, layered on top of each other, cupped at the edges to hold the juices) one to hold the asparagus, one for the cannellini beans and one for the salmon. The portabella mushrooms can be grilled directly on the grill. Just drizzle them with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. And grill for about 12 minutes at 500 degrees, just flip halfway through and set aside once done. Once they are cool, you can slice them. I find that they are like a steak and need to rest to collect their juices. For your cannellini beans, combine 1 teaspoon of the plum sauce, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon honey and salt and pepper and mix with the beans, so they are well coated. For your asparagus, just season with salt, pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil. For the salmon, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon plum sauce, and season with salt, pepper and five spice powder to taste. Pour over the salmon and top with the pat of butter, broken up. Heat up your grill along with the flat cast iron pan. I have a big one that is about 18 inches long, it’s great! Once your grill is hot, place your “bowls” containing the salmon, the cannellini beans and the asparagus and grill for about 10 minutes. After about five minutes, the asparagus will be ready, if the stalks are tender. In the meantime, divide the lettuce between two plates. Add the mushrooms and asparagus to the plate. Remove the salmon from the “bowl” and reserve the cooking juices. Break up the salmon into bite size pieces and add to the plate. Top with the grilled cannellini beans. Into the reserved juices add in the vinegar, 2 tablespoons honey and 1 tablespoon plum sauce. Season to taste with salt pepper and the five spice powder. Drizzle over your salads. Serves 2.

Cauliflower & Poppy Seed Ravioli with Roasted Asparagus

The first time I made this, was years ago, thinking the cauliflower would be a good filler for the ricotta cheese. I was trying to save some calories and it was pretty good! But it looked like it needed something and I threw in the poppy seeds and it really made this dish fun. This is great for a hearty vegetarian main course. Serve with crusty bread and fresh butter and a garden salad, and I think everyone will be happy.

  • 1 small head cauliflower, trimmed so you only use the florets, boiled until soft, drained well and mashed
  • 1 1/2 cups part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 package wonton wrappers
  • 5 roasted garlic cloves (minced), from an olive bar, (only if you have on hand, I was craving olives the other day and threw these guys in the mix and they were left over, ate the good stuff first, lol)
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vegeta seasoning
  • 1 big bunch young and tender asparagus drizzled with olive oil and salt, roasted at 450 for 20 minutes
  • some unsalted butter, for sauteing the ravioli
  • 1 jar good Vodka sauce
  • some mint leaves, (optional)

Combine the cauliflower, ricotta cheese, garlic cloves, Vegeta seasoning (if none on hand, that’s okay just use a good all-purpose seasoning that you like) and the poppy seeds. Stir well incorporating everything. Start making your raviolis! Take a won ton wrapper, add a tablespoon of filling in the center, dip your finger in water and draw a line around the edges and top with another won ton wrapper and seal closed.

Set up your ravioli station with a few large plates, one for the just made ravioli, one for the cooked ravioli. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Throw in about 2 at a time into the boiling water. They cook very quickly, they are done when they rise to the top. Scoop them out with a drainer spoon. Make sure they don’t touch each other, because they do stick. On medium heat, melt your butter and saute your raviolis, a few at a time. Top with asparagus, vodka sauce and some chopped mint leaves. I loved it with the mint, a fun little surprise! This serves 6 with about 4 raviolis each. Enjoy & Happy Weekend! :)