Cavatappi Salad with Peas, Ricotta, Basil & Mint
Hosting a dinner party this weekend? Make it a hit with this pasta salad that is sure to please the pickiest of guests.
-From Simple Stunning Parties at Home (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, ’09), by Karen Bussen, www.karenbussen.com
Karen Bussen is one of America’s most exciting entertaining experts, and the author of the wildly successful Simple Stunning series of entertaining books (Stewart, Tabori & Chang). Karen creates one-of-a-kind celebrations for luminary hosts as well as A-listers such as Robert Downey Jr., Julian Schnabel, and Martha Stewart.
Here, Karen gives Betty a delicious pasta dish, which is perfect for entertaining guests. Cavatappi is a fabulous dried pasta — its curly shape makes it ideal for sauces that cling to the pasta, like this ricotta paste with fresh mint. This ricotta sauce can also be used as a delicious dip. With a dish this good, your guests will be begging for the recipe.
Serves 8 as an appetizer or 4 as main course
1 pound dried cavatappi pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup fresh green peas (or frozen peas, thawed)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
¼ pine nuts
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1. In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions.
2. Two minutes before the pasta is finished cooking, add ½ cup of the peas to the pasta water. Drain the pasta and peas and set aside, mixing in 1 tablespoon of olive oil to keep the paste from sticking together.
3. Meanwhile, in a food processor, mix the ricotta, garlic, the remaining green peas, plus the mint and basil, until the mixture forms a paste. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the paste while it is processing.
4. When the pasta has cooled, toss in the ricotta paste and pine nuts and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the Parmesan cheese. Serve at room temperature.
Don’t have a food processor? Consider purchasing what ConsumerSearch.com calls “the best”: The KitchenAid KFP750 on Amazon.com.
Serve your Cavatappi masterpiece on matching dinnerware for six guests with Ikea’s 18-piece dinnerware set at Ikea.com.
Want more recipe ideas for entertaining guests? Check out our Recipe File.