I have needs.
Sometimes, those needs involve dancing around my room to Lady Gaga. Possibly in my underwear. Possibly not. And no, I am not going to clarify exactly what I mean by “not”. And yes, mom. I know that you are not going to like that I wrote that. But sometimes, the truth is embarrassing. There’s just no way around it.
Sometimes, those needs involve eating peppermint swirl Hershey’s kisses like they’re going out of style. Especially because come January 1st, they most certainly will be going out of style and so you’ll have to special order them from some retailer on Amazon who has potentially laced them with LSD. You can just never tell about these people who hoard candy for the sole purpose of selling it on Amazon. I mean, really, what kind of person has the self control to let mounds of these sit in their house without eating them. A psychopathic killer. That’s who.
(What I’m trying to say is. Please. Go to Target. Stock up. Your life depends on it.)
And sometimes. These needs involve getting home from an 11.5 mile run. (Yes. I said run. Slow run. But run nonetheless.)
Taking an ice bath. (Sorry Alan, I had to do it.)
And eating fresh ricotta, courtesy of your local Italian grocer, out of the container with a spoon.
More than a need, I’m entirely convinced that this is a basic right. It’s up there with oxygen. Water. Shelter. Indoor plumbing.
Actually, I think that this ricotta cheese. Especially when swirled into this pasta dish. Laced with parmesan cheese and sausage crumbles and big wide fresh noodles that also came from the aforementioned Italian grocer’s and that really have the perfect texture – soft with just a hint of a bite to them.
Well, it might just surpass indoor plumbing. Especially when you are in the midst of a 1000 calorie deficit and it’s all you can do prevent yourself from eating your own hand. Really, you feel yourself starting to nibble, you just stick a spoonful of ricotta in your mouth. It works wonders.
And, at the least, it will make your day seem entirely worthwhile, all in under 30 minutes. Even if you haven’t run 11.5 slow but steady miles. That seems like a pretty good deal to me.
Pappardelle with Smashed Peas, Sausage, and Ricotta Cheese
Serves 4, adapted from Giada’s Kitchen
1 lb fresh or dried pappardelle or tagliatelle
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 links Italian sausage, I used chicken sausage
1 lb frozen peas, thawed
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1. Bring a large salted pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until tender, just a bit firm to the bite. That should be about 8-10 minutes for dried pasta and 5 for the pappardelle that I used. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
2. While waiting for the water to boil, start making your sauce. Heat the olive and garlic in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. When the garlic becomes fragrant, remove the sausage from it’s casing and add the meat to the pan. Use a wooden spoon to try to break the sausage in to small pieces. When the sausage has browned, push it to one side of the pan and add the peas to the other, smashing them with the back of the wooden spoon.
3. Turn off the heat. Add the ricotta cheese and stir to combine. Add in the cooked pasta and toss. Add the pasta water in 1/4 cup increments if necessary to make a sauce. I ended up adding about 1/2 cup pasta water. Add the basil, parmesan cheese, and salt. Toss well to combine.
**For the vegetarians out there, I think this would actually be just as delicious without the sausage. Just saying.