Lemony Pasta with Fresh Peas, Ricotta, and Mint

Makes 2 servings

6 ounces pasta shells
4 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
The zest and juice of 1/2 medium lemon (about 1 tablespoon juice)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh shelled English peas
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint
2 tablespoons freshly grated Reggiano-Parmigiano cheese
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Lemon zest curls, optional garnish

1. Cook the pasta in salted water according to direction, until al dente. Reserve a cup of hot pasta water.

2. In a small bowl, stir ricotta cheese, lemon zest and juice, and salt and pepper. Thin it with a little bit of hot pasta water. Stir until creamy but not watery.

3. Drain cooked pasta and transfer to a large bowl. Add peas and ricotta mixture and toss well. Stir in mint and grated cheese. Drizzle each serving with extra virgin olive oil and garnish with lemon zest curls, if desired.

Variation: For a meat version, add 2-3 ounces crispy prosciutto or pancetta. If you're gluten-intolerant, then substitute gluten-free pasta.

Recipe created by Susan Russo of Food Blogga.