Happy Sunday Funday everyone! At least, that’s how this post was supposed to start. However, I am a whole lot of blonde and now my Sunday won’t be as much of a “funday”. You see, today was supposed to be my first post joining the Sunday Supper Movement, a community of food bloggers who celebrate their love of food on Sundays. Maybe you have seen the hashtag #SundaySupper floating around the internet? I have for years, well before I even started No Spoon Necessary. I always wanted to join the group, but was confused about how to actually join, and the rules that go along with posting. I was all set up to join them in their food blog fun today. I made sure to get my post title submitted before deadline, I added their logo to my sidebar and within the blog, and I placed the html code of other blogger’s links in my post. It was all done and done. I was sup
per excited. However, I failed to realize my post needed to be published between 1 AM and 8 AM. *insert slapping myself in the forehead here* Consequentially, I won’t be joining them today in their food blog games. Someone should hand me a red nose and dub me Rudolf for the day.
Regardless of not partaking in #SundaySupper today, I am still bringing you guys a terrific dish. So let’s talk food. I adore pasta primavera. I love how the dish showcases fresh vegetables and allows them to really shine. However, despite the dish being chalk full of healthy veggies, the traditional pasta and sauce (depending on how it is prepared), sometimes lead to the dish being very heavy. Often, I end up feeling ‘food pregnant’ type of bloated and too full, even after only eating one small bowl. I decided this must change, and I wanted to lighten up this classic dish. Enter my version – Spring Couscous Primavera with Whipped Lemon Ricotta. Revamped, healthy, delicious and even better than the original (if you ask me).
All of the classic flavors are still intact: creamy, garlicy, savory, a little acidic, slightly cheesy and a touch spicy. And the fresh, vibrant springtime vegetables are still included: asparagus, crunchy carrots, yellow bell pepper, juicy cherry tomatoes and sweet peas. The dish is simply shaken up and given a lighter, new spin by being served over teeny, tiny pearls of couscous pasta. Since I was breathing new life into a classic dish, I didn’t want to stop there. I wanted to really up the culinary ante and make this new version shine. So, to top it all off I added a dollop (or four) of whipped lemon ricotta. It pairs spectacularly with the couscous primavera. The creamy texture of ricotta and the zip of lemon enhances and awakens the flavors of this dish and takes an old classic to a whole new level of yum.
I love this remake so much that is has become my go to lunch throughout the week. And for dinner I will add some cubed cooked chicken or tofu for a more substantial meal. So why don’t you join me in celebrating spring, and Sundays being made for supper (despite not being involved in any club) by preparing this Spring Couscous Primavera. Until next time, Cheers!
Spring Couscous Primavera with Whipped Ricotta
- Whipped Ricotta:
- ¾ Cup Ricotta
- 2 tsp Lemon Juice
- 1/8 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 ½ Cups Couscous , uncooked
- 2 cups reduced sodium Chicken Stock , divided
- ¼ Heaping tsp Kosher Salt
- ½ TBS unsalted Butter
- Vegetables & Sauce:
- 1 cup Sweet Peas , frozen
- 2 TBS Olive Oil , divided
- 1 Bunch Asparagus – trimmed and cut into 1’’ pieces (about 1 pound)
- 1 large Carrot – peeled and small dice (about ¾ cup)
- 1 Yellow Bell Pepper - core and seeds removed, small dice (about 1 cup)
- 2 Shallots – finely diced
- 3 cloves Garlic - minced
- ½ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- ½ tsp Kosher Salt , plus more to taste
- ½ Pint Cherry Tomatoes – halved or quartered (= 1 heaping Cup)
- ½ Cup White Wine
- 1 cup Heavy Cream (can substitute half and half)
- 2 TBS Dijon Mustard
- Black Pepper , to taste
- ½ cup Parmesan - Shaved, optional
- ¼ cup Parsley - roughly chopped
- Lemon Wedges , for serving
- For the Whipped Ricotta: Place ricotta, lemon juice and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Turn on and process until ricotta is smooth, light and whipped to desired consistency. Set aside.
- For the Peas: Steam or Microwave (add 1 tablespoon of water to container if microwaving) peas for 2 ½ - 3 minutes, to partially cook. Set aside.
- Cook the Couscous: In a medium sized saucepan bring 1 ½ cups of chicken stock, measured kosher salt and butter to a boil. Add the couscous, and stir. Immediately cover and remove from the heat. Allow the couscous to stand, covered for 5 minutes. Remove cover and fluff with a fork. Set aside.
- While couscous is cooking, prepare the vegetables: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large straight-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots and asparagus, season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add the bell pepper and continue to sauté for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked through but still have some bite to them. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add a tablespoon of oil to skillet. Add the shallot and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until softened and starting to brown. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Season with ½ tsp salt and pepper. Cook for 30 seconds-1 minute, or until fragrant.
- Add the wine and remaining ½ cup of stock, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the heavy cream and mustard, and bring back to simmer. Continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes, or until sauce starts to thicken.
- Add the asparagus mixture back to the pan along with the peas. Stir and cook for 2 minute. Add the cherry tomatoes and couscous to the pan, stir and cook until coated and thoroughly combined.
- Taste and adjust for seasoning. Remove from heat and finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, grated parmesan and parsley. Serve with a dollop of whipped ricotta on top.