*  Exported from  MasterCook II  *
                      Asparagus with Basil and Ricotta
 Recipe By     : Pasta e Verdura
 Serving Size  : 4    Preparation Time :0:00
 Categories    : Main Dishes                      Pasta
   Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
 --------  ------------  --------------------------------
    2      pounds        asparagus
    1 1/3  cups          ricotta cheese, light
      2/3  cup           grated Parmesan cheese
      1/2  cup           fresh basil leaves -- minced
    1      teaspoon      salt
      1/2  teaspoon      black pepper -- freshly ground
    8      ounces        pasta -- penne
 1.  Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot for cooking 
 the pasta.
 2.  Snap off the tough ends from the asparagus spears.  Cut the spears in 
 half lengthwise (thicker spears should be quartered), then slice them on 
 the bias into 1-inch pieces.  Steam the asparagus until crisp-tender, 
 about 2 minutes.  Set the cooked asparagus aside.  
 3.  Combine the two cheeses with the basil, salt, and pepper in a medium 
 bowl.  Set the mxiture aside.
 4.  While preparing the sauce, cook the pasta.  Just before it is done, 
 carefully remove 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid and stir it into the cheese 
 mixture.  The cheese sauce should be smooth and creamy.
 5.  Drain the pasta, making sure that some water still clings to the 
 noodles.  Toss the hot pasta with the ricotta mixture and asparagus.  Mix 
 well to coat the pasta with the sauce.  Transfer portions to warm pasta 
 bowls and serve immediately.
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