Ricotta-Stuffed Rigatoni with Spring Vegetables and Pesto Oil
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Comment: From amuse-bouche by Rick Tramonto. At my restaurant, I stuff the rigatoni with herbed ricotta cheese and serve blanched vegetables on the side for a light, refreshing amuse. The trick is to cook the rigatoni only until al dente and then refrigerate it. This technique keeps it firm so it doesn’t tear when it’s stuffed, although you will note that I suggest cooking extra pasta because some inevitably split in the boiling water and others are lost to snacking.
Pesto Oil for garnishing
Method: In a large pot pf lightly salted boiling water, cook the pasta for 11 to 14 minutes or until al dente. Drain and transfer to a medium-sized bowl, toss with a little olive oil to prevent sticking, and allow to cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate. Stir the ricotta and basil together until well mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate. Slice the ends off the squash. Shred the vegetables julienne lengthwise, thinly as possible with a small sharp knife. In a saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the green beans for 3 – 4 minutes or until crisp and tender. Drain again and set aside. In another saucepan of boiling salt water, blanch the shredded squash for 1 minute.
Yield: One Cup
Method: In an saucepan filled with boiling water, blanch the basil leaves for about 10 seconds or until they are bright green. Drain and immediately submerge in cold water. Drain again. Put the drained basil leaves and the pine nuts, garlic and orange juice in a blender. With the motor running, slowly add the grapeseed oil and blend until pureed. Strain the infused oil through a fine-mesh sieve into a small glass or ceramic bowl. Season to taste with salt. Use immediately or refrigerate the pesto oil in a tightly lidded non-reactive container for up to 4 days.
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