Fettuccine with Sweet Tomato Sauce, Ricotta and Asparagus

I once read a Nigella Lawson cookbook (and I do actually *read* cookbooks, cover to cover, as if they were for-real books with plotlines and such; it’s my favorite thing to spend Christmas Day doing) in which she described a pasta dish – I think it was carbonara, but I’m not sure – as the kind of dish you carry to your bed and eat straight from the pot, preferably with someone you think is sexy.

I don’t know about you, but anything that gets described that way is a thing that I want to eat. Like yesterday. This pasta dish, which I first wrote about back in 2010 (although the recipe has evolved over time into what you see below) is my personal eat-straight-from-the-pot dish: it’s rich and creamy and cheesy and a touch sweet, and is – yes – the perfect thing to eat while laying in bed next to someone you think is sexy.

Or alone, in your pajamas, while watching Love, Actually. And I think we all know that’s going to happen at some point during the next week or so, god willing, so here you go:

Instead of popcorn, eat this.


serves 4-6

What You Need:

  • 1 package fettuccine (fresh or dried, although you’ll need at least two packages of the fresh stuff, in my experience)
  • 1 bunch skinny asparagus
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 large (24 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 cup whole-milk ricotta
  • Salt

What You Do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the asparagus on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and salt, and roast for 4-5 minutes, or until fork-tender. Cut asparagus into 1″ pieces and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a large pan and add the onions. Cook, stirring constantly, until just translucent, add the garlic, and cook for another thirty seconds.
  3. Add the white wine and let reduce until the smell of alcohol is gone. Add the tomatoes, balsamic and sugar, turn down the heat, and let simmer about 15 minutes.
  4. While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain (I like to only *mostly* drain my pasta so there’s still a little water left in the pot) and return to the pot.
  5. Add the sauce, asparagus and ricotta to the pot, add salt to taste, and toss until well combined and creamy.

fettuccine with sweet tomato sauce, ricotta and asparagus on a red and white tablecloth

fettuccine with sweet tomato sauce and asparagus on a red and white tablecloth fettuccine with sweet tomato sauce and asparagus on a red and white tablecloth

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