After over a year of cooking meal after detailed meal only to retreat to my dim dining table of one, I was so excited to start having friends over again to share the food that otherwise would have been stored, unglamorously, in tupperware within 30 minutes of completion. In true Summer fashion, I cooked up a bright pasta salad that might as well be called "chilled adult buttered noodles". In my unwarranted opinion, mayonnaise-based pasta salads could never compare.
Orecchiette pasta (or any fun pasta shape that can ~cup~ nearby ingredients)
Asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
Sweet peas and/or sugar snap peas
Roasted or grilled zucchini (large dice)
Lemon juice & zest
Fresh mint (chiffonade--roll the mint lengthwise and slice widthwise into thin strips)
Lots of buttery EVOO
Blanch the asparagus for a minute or two until tender but not soft. Then, place in an ice bath before transferring to your serving bowl. Set aside.
Boil the pasta until al dente, drain, and place in the fridge. This pasta salad should be served at room temperature, so you'll want to start monitoring the temperature after about 15 minutes so as not to over-chill. The chillest thing in the kitchen should be ~you~.
Once the pasta reaches a desirable temperature, remove from the fridge and add to the asparagus in your serving bowl. Mix in the peas, zucchini, garlic powder, lemon juice, lemon zest, parm, EVOO, S&P, and half of the mint. Stir until evenly incorporated. Lastly, top with dollops of ricotta and finish with a little more black pepper and mint for presentation.