This month we share recipes that utilize produce you will
find at local Farmer’s Markets. Enjoy!
Asparagus Pasta With Ricotta and Parmesan
This Asparagus Pasta can be made with rotini, penne, or other bite-size pasta. Or, you can make it as pictured here, with large pieces of lasagna noodles layered in the ricotta and Parmesan cheese. Either way you make it, it’s a fresh, delicious spring pasta dinner.
1 pound fusilli, penne, or lasagna noodles
1 to 2 bunches asparagus
2 cloves garlic
3 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
8 ounces ricotta cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly grated black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until tender to the bite and drain.
Meanwhile, trim off the woody ends of the asparagus and cut the spears on a sharp diagonal into bite-size pieces.
Finely chop the garlic.
In a large frying pan, melt the butter. When the butter stops foaming, add the olive oil. Add the cut asparagus, sprinkle with the salt, and stir to coat with the butter and oil. Cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until asparagus is just hot through and starting to turn tender, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about another minute. Add more salt, if you like, but remember, you’ll be adding salty Parmesan cheese in just a moment.
If using fusilli or penne, toss pasta with the asparagus mixture, divide among pasta plates, and top evenly with the ricotta and Parmesan, and garnish with black pepper to taste. If using the lasagna noodles, layer those with the asparagus mixture and bits of ricotta on each plate. Top with remaining ricotta, sprinkle with the Parmesan, and garnish with the black pepper.
Beet and Ricotta Salad
A simple lemony dressing adds a bit of zing to the earthy beets and fresh, creamy ricotta in this easy but very tasty salad.
6 medium beets
3 Tbsp. olive oil plus more for cooking
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 small clove garlic
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup walnut (optional)
About 1/2 tsp. sea salt
Minced chives for garnish
Roast or grill the beets. If you roast them, peel and slice the beets once they’re cooked; if you grill them, peel and slice them first.
In a medium bowl, combine the oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Add the beets to the dressing and toss to coat them thoroughly.
Lift the beets out of the dressing and divide them onto 4 to 6 salad plates.
Divide the ricotta between the 4 to 6 salads, dolloping small bits of ricotta on and aroudn the beets.
Top with the walnuts, if you like. Drizzle the salads with the dressing left behind in the bowl.
Sprinkle with the salt (add more to taste, if you like) and chives.
Black Forest Cake
Lenexa team member Emily Harrington made this birthday cake for Prairie Village team member James Harrington, who just happens to be her spouse. It uses Kirschwasser, which is a cherry brandy. If you prefer to make a non alcoholic version you can substitute a cherry syrup. See recipe below.
- 1 2⁄3 cups flour
- 2⁄3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 cup shortening
- 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1⁄2 cups buttermilk
- 1⁄2 cup kirschwasser
- 1⁄2 cup butter
- 3 cups confectioner sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1⁄4cup espresso (2 packets single serve instant coffee dissolved in 1/4 c hot water)
- 1 1⁄2 lbs fresh black cherries
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons dry milk powder
- 2 tablespoons confectioner sugar
- 1⁄2 cup shaved dark chocolate or mini chocolate chips
Pit most of the cherries leaving about 10 for decoration on top of the cake. Take the pitted cherries and soak them in a jar of the 1/2 cup Kirsch overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350°F Line the bottom of three 9 inch round cake pans with parchment.
Sift the dry cake ingredients together.
Cream the shortening and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.
Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk and mix well.
Pour evenly into the cake pans. Bake for 20 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
Cool and remove the cakes. Prick the tops of the cakes with a toothpick and pour the 1/2 cup of Kirsch (that the cherries soaked in) onto the cake.
In a bowl beat the butter until light and creamy. Add the icing sugar, salt and espresso and mix well. If the icing is too thick add Kirsch or cherry juice.
Cut the cherries into halves.
Place the base layer on top of your cake tray, spread 1/2 of the icing over one top, cover with cherries and top with another layer of cake.
Spread the second half of the filling over that layer of cake, cover with cherries and top with the third layer of cake. Cover this and let sit in the fridge for a day or two to allow the kirsch to soak into the cake and become moist.
The day you’re going to serve this cake prepare the icing. Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks.
Gently fold in the dry milk and icing sugar.
Add the vanilla and pour in the Kirsch until it’s a good consistency.
If you like more icing double this recipe. Spread the icing over all of the cake.
Place the fresh, intact cherries on top for decoration and cover the top with the chocolate shavings. Serve and enjoy!
Cherry Syrup: Boil a handful of cherries in 1/2 cup water, adding about 2 T brown sugar. After boiling a few minutes to thicken turn off the heat and use an immersion blender to incorporate the cherries into the mixture.