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How to Bake Your Pasta

Nate Appelman's Recipe For Ricotta-Stuffed Baked Pasta With Pancetta and Peas.

Monday, March 01, 2010

With two hot regional Italian restaurants, A16 and SPQR, Nate Appleman (pictured) was the talk of San Francisco—that is, until he abruptly left town, recruited by Keith McNally (he of Balthazar and Minetta Tavern) to spearhead the restaurateur's brand-new NYC project, Pulino's Bar and Pizzeria, one of 2010's biggest openings. Don't be fooled by the name: "We're just calling it a pizzeria," says the 30-year-old James Beard Award-winning chef, who's filling the wood-burning oven with cozy desserts and delicate pastas like this rustic, springy dish, which is nearly as good when replicated at home with store-bought noodles.

Pulino's: 282 Bowery, 212-226-1966; pulinosny.com

Serves 6.

Pasta Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh ricotta
  • 1 cup smoked ricotta (or another cup fresh)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 lb fresh pasta sheets, cut in half widthwise

Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 lb pancetta, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 cup blanched fresh or defrosted frozen peas
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup torn mint leaves
  • Finely grated Pecorino

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F.
  2. Lightly oil a large baking pan.
  3. Mix the ricottas with the salt.
  4. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water for 1 minute.
  5. Transfer to a colander and rinse under cold water.
  6. Pat each piece dry with a paper towel.
  7. Beginning with one piece of pasta, spread a little of the ricotta mixture on one side and fold twice diagonally (into a loose triangle), then place in the baking pan.
  8. Repeat with the remaining pasta, layering as you go.
  9. Bake until the triangles have started to brown (about 12 minutes).
  10. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  11. Cook the pancetta in the oil, stirring, until it begins to crisp (about 7 minutes).
  12. Add the garlic, stir, and add the peas.
  13. When the peas are warm and the garlic has softened but not browned, add the chili and mint, stir, and take the pan off the heat.
  14. Once the pasta is ready, top it with the pea mixture and a sprinkling of Pecorino.
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