Asparagus and Ricotta Pillows is a light dish, perfect for early summer. Asparagus is still in season and easy to find in the Pacific Northwest in June. And while my homegrown garlic is not ready to harvest just yet, the garlic scapes are edible and have much of the rich garlic flavor of the garlic cloves.
A quick note about garlic scapes: they are the long green stem on the garlic that looks like chives. Typically in the grocery store, the garlic scape has been cut off and only the garlic bulb is sold. What is great about the scapes is that they can be cut periodically while the garlic is growing and it doesn’t hurt the garlic bulb growing in the ground. Garlic scapes can be found in farmer’s markets and natural food stores.
I make my own ricotta, however, store-bought ricotta will work in this recipe. Tip: the ricotta should not be too wet or the pillows will not hold together. I strain my homemade ricotta when making this recipe to eliminate some of the moisture.
Prepare to enjoy a delightful dish that is good as a stand-alone meal or paired with meat, chicken, or fish. Or if you want to keep this meal vegetarian, substitute the chicken stock with vegetable stock.
Asparagus & Ricotta Cheese Pillows
- CHEESE PILLOWS
- 1 cup whole-milk ricotta after draining
- 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 to 2 cups asparagus trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/3 to 1/2 cups green garlic scapes long stem of garlic plant, sliced thin
- 1 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter cut in pieces
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Kosher salt freshly ground pepper
PREP: Drain ricotta in a colander with cheesecloth to remove moisture.
In a food processor pulse ricotta, pecorino romano, eggs and salt until smooth. Sprinkle flour over mixture and puls again until combined.
Dust a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet generously with flour. Scoop out 2-3 tsp batter and using your finger tip, push batter off the spoon and drop onto baking sheet. The pillows will be lumpy and unconstructed (not like a smooth gnocchi pillow). Dust flour over ricotta pillows. Set aside.
Cook asparagus in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water. Cook until almost tender (2-3 minutes) and then transfer to a bowl of ice water. Drain and pat dry. Reserve pot and water.
Add ricotta pillows to the asparagus water and gentle simmer until pillows cook and rise to the top (about 4-5 minutes).
In a large skillet over medium heat add butter and garlic scapes. Saute for a minute or two and then add chicken stock, ricotta pillows, asparagus, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with a sprinkle of cheese and drizzle of olive oil.
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