When cooking homemade pasta, use 6 quarts boiling water with 1 tablespoon salt to every pound of pasta. If using store-bought pasta, follow package directions. Prep time: 30 minutes, Cook time: 15 minutes.
- 1 pound Nana's Homemade Cavatelli or 1 (16-ounce) package commercial cavatelli
- 12 large asparagus, trimmed, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch diagonal slices (about 2 cups)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, bruised with the side of a knife
- 2 cups red and yellow grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves
- 1 wedge (about 6 ounces) ricotta salata, sliced*
- 1 small bunch arugula, long stems trimmed and leaves torn into pieces (about 1 1/2 cups, packed)
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1. Boil a large pot of salted water; add homemade cavatelli carefully, and cook, uncovered, 5 minutes or until pasta is almost tender, stirring gently. Stir in asparagus, and cook 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Set a large, shallow pasta bowl in the sink; place colander in the bowl. Pour pasta and asparagus into the colander to drain, reserving 1/4 to 1/2 cup cooking water. (This also warms the serving bowl.)
- 2. Heat oil and garlic in a large, deep skillet over medium-low heat 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, and cook 5 minutes, being careful not to brown garlic. Turn off heat. Stir in tomato and basil; discard garlic. Spoon pasta and asparagus into skillet; stir gently over medium heat 2 minutes or until combined. Add reserved pasta liquid, a little at a time, as needed to moisten pasta.
- 3. Pour water out of serving bowl; wipe dry, and fill with pasta. Add cheese and arugula; toss to combine. Add salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
- *For testing purposes, we used Precious Brand whole milk ricotta. If ricotta isn't available, substitute with a mild feta or Pecorino Romano.
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