MM participated in his favorite triathlon event this past Saturday, the “Tri For Fun” Sprint in Shadow Cliffs Regional Park in Pleasanton, CA. I actually did this event last July, and it was so much fun! The “sprint” means it’s short distances: 400 meter swim, 11 mile bike and 3.1 mile run. They don’t time you, and your results aren’t recorded anywhere. It’s just a great way to introduce people of all ages and athletic abilities to the sport of triathlon. Saturday was the fifth time that MM has “competed” in this event, and he actually came in first place this time! This is the first race he has ever won in his career of swimming, biking and running. Unfortunately for me, I was unable to see him cross the finish line because I had to be in Napa on Saturday (stay tuned for a post on that). So to make it up to him that I would be missing his fifth Tri For Fun (unbeknownst that he would actually win it), I made a delicious meal for him on Friday night including his two favorite things: pasta and croutons.
My crouton recipe has appeared numerous times throughout my blog, so I won’t rehash it now. But I will say that I think ciabatta bread makes the best croutons, next to French sweet baguette. However, this pasta recipe is a relatively new addition to my collection.
- 1/2 lb dried orecchiette pasta
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1/2 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-ine pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup chicken broth
- 2/3 cup low fat ricotta cheese
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 3 ounces prosciutto, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- grated parmesan for serving (optional)
Prepare all of your ingredients and arrange on a cutting board. The sauce only takes about 6 minutes to prepare, so you want to time it out so that the pasta is ready when the sauce is done. Therefore, begin by boiling a large pot of water for the pasta. Once the water has boiled and you’ve added the orecchiette, you can start the sauce.
Heat a large skillet with olive oil over a medium flame. Add the asparagus and saute for about 3 minutes, or until they soften a little. For this recipe, thin asparagus might work better. I couldn’t find thin asparagus, so I slit thick asparagus down the middle (lengthwise) to make it easier to cook and eat.
Once the asparagus have softened, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for about 1 minute, making sure the garlic does not burn. Lower the heat and add the chicken broth, ricotta, lemon zest and prosciutto. Stir well to combine and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and set aside. Once the pasta is cooked al dente, drain and add to the pan with the sauce. Toss to combine, adding the pasta water little by little if it’s too dry. Serve with parmesan cheese and enjoy!
Both MM and I love this dish! The ricotta works well to thicken the sauce, and the combination of prosciutto and asparagus is delicious without being overly rich. I would recommend serving this dish with an elegant Chardonnay – not too buttery, but definitely something with a hint of Oak. Trefethen, Saddleback Cellars, and JAQK Cellars “Pearl Handle” are all great choices.
Congrats to MM on winning his first ever triathlon! I’m sure it will be the first of many.