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  • Writer's pictureLexi Mestas

Pesto Pasta with Fennel Sausage, Peas, and Ricotta

Wow. This is the first time I've been on my own site since the day before my emergency ovarian cystectomy which would, in six days, become a cancer diagnosis. Usually, I find peace in cooking and being in the kitchen. But, my life has been so off-kilter - as have my eating habits. I don't make recipes for new flavors and ingredients and cuisines. I eat to survive; survive chemo, make sure my blood count is up, and treat my stomach gently as it's come through two surgeries and loads of meds that make it uneasy. My diet is mostly calf liver and chicken liver, beets, kale, bone broth, Ensure, mashed potatoes, oatmeal. But, I'm getting better at finding ways to incorporate these needed nutrients into a gentle diet. And, at the same time, this being gentle has paid off, allowing me to eat some really great "normal" meals in between treatments. This one is an ode to King New York's dish of spring peas, ricotta salata, and greens - a dish I've admired over Instagram for far too long.

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 20 mins

Total Time: 30 mins

Serves: 2


4-6 oz rotini pasta (I used Jovial)

1 link chicken fennel sausage

1/4 cup ricotta

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus extra for drizzling

4 tbsp pesto

1/4 cup peas

2 tbsp mint, roughly chopped


  1. Combine ricotta and 2 tbsp olive oil until smooth - salt as needed.

  2. Remove the sausage from its casing place in a skillet on medium heat. Break it into small pieces and cook through until golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.

  3. Boil pasta according to box directions in heavily salted water, remove from heat, drain and return to pot.

  4. Add pesto and mix until coating the pasta evenly. Add sausage and peas and dish onto plates or shallow bowls.

  5. Top with spoonfuls of ricotta scattered about, mint, and a drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy!

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