Pasta with ricotta, ceps and tarragon

Posted On May 19, 2016 By Kathryn
45 minutes

The sauce for this pasta is delicate and light, yet boasts an amazing depth of flavour. In fact, it can be used for so much more than a pasta sauce. It is fantastic with grilled fish such as sea bass, bream or monkfish. Drizzle it over steamed white or green asparagus for a gorgeous entrée to a meal, or as a great vegetarian option. Cep mushrooms are like the vegetable version of a steak – they are hearty, meaty, and just brilliantly satisfying. This dish is simple in appearance, but it is bursting with layers of unexpected flavour. Buy soft ricotta, rather than the set block. This sauce also freezes perfectly, so definitely worth making a batch and saving some for later. If you can’t find cep mushrooms, try asparagus with this dish instead. Charcoal salt is a little flurry of decadence, but normal sea salt will work perfectly too. Use fresh pasta if you can find it, buy any will do really.

This photograph was shot by the amazing Louise Hagger for a shoot we did which was inspired by the colour white. You can see the rest of the photos here. Enjoy!


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Serves 4

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed with skin left on

1 tsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp yellow mustard seeds

1 tsp black peppercorns

3 sprigs of tarragon

2 sprigs of thyme

500ml vermouth, white wine or prosecco

500ml vegetable or chicken stock

150g soft ricotta

50ml double cream

4 cep mushrooms, sliced lengthways

400g pappardelle, fresh if you can find it

a few sprigs of tarragon to garnish, leaves picked and finely chopped

pinch of charcoal salt (optional)


  1. Firstly make the sauce. Place all of the ingredients, up to and including the vermouth, into a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil and reduce by two thirds. Add the stock and reduce by half. Mix the ricotta and cream together until smooth. Strain the reduction, return to a clean saucepan, add the ricotta and cream and bring to a gentle simmer while you cook the other ingredients
  2. Brush the ceps with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a frying pan with a good glug of olive oil and fry the mushrooms until nicely browned.
  3. Cook the pasta in generously salted water according to packet instructions. When ready, drain and dress with a little olive oil, and then toss in the sauce. Serve with the mushrooms, garnish with tarragon and a touch of charcoal salt. Serve immediately.