Orzo with Asparagus and Edamame Ricotta


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    6 to 8

Appears in

I Can Cook Vegan

I Can Cook Vegan

By Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Published 2019

  • About

This dish is fresh, bright, garlicky, and lemony. The pasta itself is very simple, but the dollops of flavor-packed edamame ricotta give it that wow factor, and it’s satisfying to mix it all up while you’re eating. The plating makes it very fancy and special, adding that little photogenic touch that every vegan supper needs. Because if you didn’t Instagram it, did you even have dinner? I love to work with orzo because it cooks so fast and has all the fun of risotto with none of the stirring. The ricotta is also a wonderful go-to for nut-free guests, so use it on salads and other pastas with aplomb.


For the edamame ricotta

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup (30 g) packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 (14-ounce/400 g) package frozen shelled edamame, thawed
  • ½ cup (120 ml) vegetable broth, plus more, if needed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the pasta

  • 1 pound (455 g) orzo
  • 1 cup (115 g) thinly sliced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound (455 g) asparagus, tips trimmed, stems cut into ½-inch (12 mm) pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (240 ml) vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnish


  1. Make the ricotta: Place the garlic and basil in a food processor and pulse a few times to get it chopped up. Add the edamame, vegetable broth, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and blend until relatively smooth, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to make sure everything gets pureed. Add a little more broth if the ricotta seems too stiff. Set aside until ready to use.
  2. Make the pasta: Bring 6 quarts (5.7 L) of salted water to a boil in a large pot. Boil the orzo according to package directions until al dente.
  3. Preheat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté the shallots in the oil with a pinch of salt, just until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the asparagus, salt, and black pepper to taste and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze.
  4. Add the pasta and lemon juice to the sauce and toss to coat. Serve in wide shallow bowls, if you’ve got them, with 3 dollops of ricotta on top of each serving and additional basil leaves.