Fregola Sarda Pasta Salad with Sugar Snap Peas, Fried Leek, & Spicy Ricotta

Fregola Sarda Pasta Salad

with Sugar Snap Peas, Fried Leek, & Spicy Ricotta

55 MIN
2 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

Peas and mint are a classic duo in spring cooking. For tonight's showstopping pasta salad, we’re tossing toasty fregola sarda with sautéed sugar snap peas and fresh mint. For a bit of creaminess in every bite, we’re serving our salad over a layer of ricotta, seasoned with a paste made from Calabrian chiles—a native of southern Italy, beloved for its spicy and slightly fruity flavor. A garnish of fried leek rounds it all out with delicately crispy texture.

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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    660 Cals (est.)
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Cook the pasta:
1 Cook the pasta:

Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Once boiling, add the pasta; cook 14 to 16 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Drain thoroughly; return to the pot. Set aside in a warm place.

Prepare the ingredients:
2 Prepare the ingredients:

While the pasta cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and roughly chop the garlic. Cut off and discard the stem end of each snap pea; pull off and discard the tough string that runs the length of the pod. Cut off and discard the root ends of the scallions; thinly slice on an angle, separating the white bottoms and green tops. Trim off and discard the root end and upper, dark-green leaves of the leek. Halve lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise. Place in a bowl of cold water and stir vigorously to remove any dirt between the layers. Cut off and discard the ends of the radishes; halve lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise. Using a fork, break the Pecorino cheese into small pieces. Roughly chop the almonds. Pick the mint leaves off the stems; discard the stems.

Make the spicy ricotta:
3 Make the spicy ricotta:

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese and as much of the chile paste as you'd like, depending on how spicy you'd like the dish to be. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the snap peas:
4 Cook the snap peas:

In a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the garlic, snap peas, and white bottoms of the scallions; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the snap peas are bright green. Add 2 tablespoons of water and cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the snap peas have softened and the water has cooked off. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to the pot of cooked pasta; stir to combine. Wipe out the pan.

Coat & fry the leek:
5 Coat & fry the leek:

Using your hands (or a slotted spoon), remove the rinsed leek from the bowl of water and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Transfer to a large bowl and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Add the flour; toss to thoroughly coat. In the same pan, heat a thin layer of oil on medium-high until hot. Once the oil is hot enough that a pinch of flour sizzles immediately when added to the pan, working in batches if necessary, add the coated leek in a single layer (tapping off any excess flour before adding). Cook, stirring frequently, 4 to 6 minutes per batch, or until golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; immediately season with salt and pepper.

Finish the pasta salad & plate your dish:
6 Finish the pasta salad & plate your dish:

To the pot of cooked pasta and snap peas, add the radishes, Pecorino cheese, almonds, vinegar, and mint (tearing the leaves just before adding). Stir to thoroughly combine. Drizzle with olive oil; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the spicy ricotta between 2 dishes; spread into a thin layer. Top with the finished pasta salad and fried leek. Garnish with the green tops of the scallions. Enjoy!

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Cook the pasta:
1 Cook the pasta:

Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Once boiling, add the pasta; cook 14 to 16 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Drain thoroughly; return to the pot. Set aside in a warm place.

2 Prepare the ingredients:

While the pasta cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and roughly chop the garlic. Cut off and discard the stem end of each snap pea; pull off and discard the tough string that runs the length of the pod. Cut off and discard the root ends of the scallions; thinly slice on an angle, separating the white bottoms and green tops. Trim off and discard the root end and upper, dark-green leaves of the leek. Halve lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise. Place in a bowl of cold water and stir vigorously to remove any dirt between the layers. Cut off and discard the ends of the radishes; halve lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise. Using a fork, break the Pecorino cheese into small pieces. Roughly chop the almonds. Pick the mint leaves off the stems; discard the stems.

Make the spicy ricotta:
3 Make the spicy ricotta:

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese and as much of the chile paste as you'd like, depending on how spicy you'd like the dish to be. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

4 Cook the snap peas:

In a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the garlic, snap peas, and white bottoms of the scallions; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the snap peas are bright green. Add 2 tablespoons of water and cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the snap peas have softened and the water has cooked off. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to the pot of cooked pasta; stir to combine. Wipe out the pan.

Cook the snap peas:
Coat & fry the leek:
5 Coat & fry the leek:

Using your hands (or a slotted spoon), remove the rinsed leek from the bowl of water and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Transfer to a large bowl and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Add the flour; toss to thoroughly coat. In the same pan, heat a thin layer of oil on medium-high until hot. Once the oil is hot enough that a pinch of flour sizzles immediately when added to the pan, working in batches if necessary, add the coated leek in a single layer (tapping off any excess flour before adding). Cook, stirring frequently, 4 to 6 minutes per batch, or until golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; immediately season with salt and pepper.

6 Finish the pasta salad & plate your dish:

To the pot of cooked pasta and snap peas, add the radishes, Pecorino cheese, almonds, vinegar, and mint (tearing the leaves just before adding). Stir to thoroughly combine. Drizzle with olive oil; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the spicy ricotta between 2 dishes; spread into a thin layer. Top with the finished pasta salad and fried leek. Garnish with the green tops of the scallions. Enjoy!

Finish the pasta salad & plate your dish:
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