Lunchbreak: Gold-extruded caserrece pasta, prepared by Quartino Ristorante chef John Coletta

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Chef John Coletta

Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar
626 N. State Street

Quartino’s lunch special: Monday through Friday from 11am to 3pm, 2 people can share 3 courses, including the house made pastas, for just $25.

Quartino is a great late-night spot, as the kitchen is open until 1am during the week and 2am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Gold-Extruded Caserrece Pasta made from Organic and Stone-Ground Senatore Cappelli Flour with Asparagus Tips & Meyer Lemon
Serves 5

16 ounces caserecce pasta  (a twisted, rolled tube of pasta – can be store bought)
3 Tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 Tablespoons Italian extra virgin olive oil
1/2 ounce peeled whole garlic cloves
1 cup fresh pencil-thin asparagus tips (about 2-inches long), halved lengthwise
1 cup fresh pencil-thin asparagus spears, tough ends trimmed, spears cut on the bias into 1/16-inch slices
6 Tablespoons Italian butter
1 1/4 cups freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (preferably Vacche Brune), plus more for serving
finely grated zest from 2 Meyer lemons
1/8 teaspoon fresh black pepper
5 ounces fresh ricotta cheese

In an 8-quart pot, bring 6 quarts of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and 3 Tablespoons salt and lower the heat to medium. Allow the pasta to cook to the al dente stage, 10 to 14 minutes, depending on the dryness of the pasta. In the meantime, place a 12-inch, heavy-bottom sauté pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and garlic and stir with a wooden spoon. Cook until the garlic cloves are light golden brown. Discard the garlic and retain the olive oil. Add the asparagus tips and bias-cut asparagus and allow to cook slowly. Add the al dente pasta and toss to combine. Add the butter, 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, lemon zest and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper. The sauce should evenly coat the pasta while maintaining its natural viscosity. On a warm serving dish, sprinkle half of the remaining grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Transfer the pasta preparation to the dish. Top with the remaining grated cheese and dollops of ricotta. Grate additional cheese over each individual serving, if desired.