Farfalle with Asparagus, Fresh Ricotta and Tomatoes | Recipe | Spring Pasta Starter

If you haven't tasted fresh ricotta before, I strongly suggest you do.  It has a milky, sweet flavor and creamy, divine texture.  While commercial ricotta can be used in this recipe, fresh ricotta makes this dish special.

In my haste to bring out this first course, I completely forgot to add the Parmesan and chives.  While it was still good without these ingredients, be sure to add them!  It jazzes up the flavor and overall appearance.

Farfalle with Asparagus, Fresh Ricotta and Tomatoes Recipe
Yields: 6-8 servings

2 Tbsp butter
1/4 c finely chopped shallots
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, cut lengthwise in halves
1 lb asparagus, cut into 1/4" pieces
1 lb farfalle
1 c fresh ricotta
1/2 c Parmesan
4 Tbsp chopped fresh chives, divided

1. Boil a pot of water; season with salt.  Add asparagus pieces and cook 3-4 minutes until tender-crisp.  Using a skimmer, remove to a bowl.  Do not rinse.
2. Melt butter over Medium heat.  Add shallots and garlic; cook until shallots are tender.  Add cherry tomatoes and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
3. In the same pot that the asparagus was cooked in, cook farfalle according to package directions.
4. Reserve 1 c of cooking liquid.  Drain farfalle.
5. Return farfalle to the pot.  Add asparagus, tomato mixture, ricotta, Parmesan and 3 Tbsp chives.  Toss gently, adding enough cooking liquid to make a creamy sauce.  Season with salt and pepper
6. Garnish with extra chives.  Serve immediately.