Bowties with Kale, Peas and Creamy Ricotta Sauce

Along with a group of other very gifted people, I helped host a hundred food bloggers and sponsors this past weekend at our fourth annual Big Summer Potluck. More on that story next week. For now I’m feeling good about our gathering. It was a lot of work, so naturally I’m tired, but with the fatigue comes satisfaction from a job well done.

As Maggy and I were driving back from Bucks County on Sunday afternoon, she asked what treat I needed post Big Summer Potluck–a mani/pedi, a massage, a bracing cocktail, a shopping spree? “Nope,” I replied. “The only thing I want right is to get back to my life that feeds and nourishes me.”

And that’s what I did.

On Monday morning I went for a run. I made freezer ginger-peach jam from the leftover bruisy Big Summer Potluck fruit. I had a nice long phone chat with Mom.  That afternoon I decided to take a short nap and woke up two hours later! I read a book. I watched a silly movie.

After all the barbecue pork, tempting blogger potluck dishes, fun cocktails, and Jeni’s ice cream,  I was craving simple food. There was a little pasta leftover from Saturday’s bean and grain salad bar and a container of ricotta from Friday night’s create-your-own pizza. There are always peas in my freezer, and kale is becoming a refrigerator staple.

That’s how this dish came together, and it was the equivalent of  a mama’s chicken noodle soup. When I got up this morning I was still a little tired, but my daily rituals continue to help me get on track. I’m almost back to my best self.

Bowties with Kale, Peas and Creamy Ricotta Sauce
Serves: 4

  • Salt
  • 12 ounces bowtie pasta, linguini
  • 1 bunch (8 to 12 ounces) kale, stemmed, washed, and torn into large pieces
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cups part-skim ricotta
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for passing

  1. Bring 2 quarts of salted water to boil in a large soup kettle. Add bowtie pasta and, using back-of-the-box times as a guide, cook, partially covered and stirring frequently at first to prevent sticking, until just tender, adding kale the last 5 minutes of cooking and peas the last minute or so of cooking.
  2. Set colander over a large bowl and drain bowtie mixture, reserving cooking liquid; return it to the pot, stirring in garlic and basil until fragrant.
  3. Stir in ricotta, ½ cup Parmesan, and enough hot pasta cooking liquid to form a creamy sauce. Serve, sprinkling each portion with additional Parmesan.


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