Hot as bowls. No, you read that right, and it was just that hot six years ago on the July Saturday morning when I gave my first live, farm-market cooking demo. It was so hot I had to ice down my salad bowls so the farm-fresh greens wouldn’t wilt on contact.
Since that first Saturday, I have given more than 250 live cooking demonstrations and created over 700 farm-fresh, seasonal recipes. The truth is that by the end of a season, when you’ve been cooking the same zucchini, tomatoes and green beans for the past 12 weeks, you start running out of ideas. That’s when you throw a culinary Hail Mary pass.
There are three ways these crazy, let’s-give-it-a-try ideas can turn out. First, the total disaster. This has only happened once and no, you should never try stir-frying rhubarb. Second is the novelty dish. It’s interesting and edible but you won’t be rushing to make it again the next night. And third, every once in a while, you score a kitchen touch down. That is exactly what happened when we took fresh, locally-made egg pasta, tart, early spring strawberries, minced chives and rich ricotta and tossed them together with a little crispy prosciutto.
The acid in the strawberries balances beautifully with the rich cheese and pasta. The prosciutto gives you just the right amount of crunch and the onion-y chives keep it green and fresh. Your farm market-fresh strawberries may never see dessert again.
Strawberry and Ricotta Pasta
1/4 lb thinly sliced prosciutto
1 lb fresh egg tagliatelle or linguine
1 pint strawberries, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh ricotta
1/4 cup snipped chives
1 tbs olive oil
Warm a 12” skillet over medium heat. Add prosciutto and cook, turning once, until crisp. Crumble and reserve.
Bring a large pot of water to a roiling boil. Salt generously and add fresh pasta. Cook for two minutes and drain, reserving 1/4 cup of cooking water*.
Toss pasta with strawberries, ricotta, chives, olive oil, and reserved prosciutto. Season generously with black pepper and a pinch of salt.
*If pasta gets gummy or you have trouble separating the strands, toss with a little bit of the reserved cooking water.
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