Pasta With Zucchini, Ricotta and Basil


Salt and pepper
cup extra virgin olive oil
3 or 4 small-to-medium zucchini, about 1 pound, rinsed and cut into - to -inch dice
1 teaspoon minced garlic, or more to taste
1 pound penne or other cut pasta
15 oz container whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup basil leaves, washed, dried and torn or chopped
cup or more freshly grated Parmesan, optional
1/4 t crushed red pepper, optional

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Put olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; when hot add zucchini, along with a large pinch of salt and a sprinkling of pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini begins to brown, then lower heat and cook until it is quite tender, about minutes total. About 5 minutes before it is done, stir in garlic and begin to cook pasta.

While pasta cooks, warm a serving bowl and put ricotta in it, along with about half the basil and the crushed red pepper, if you are using it. When pasta is cooked remove and drain it, reserving about a cup of its cooking liquid. Use as much of this liquid as necessary, a bit at a time, to thin ricotta until it reaches a saucy consistency. Toss with pasta, zucchini, remaining basil and Parmesan, if you are using it, then taste and adjust seasoning. Serve.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Notes:

A good way to use up zucchini. The ricotta turns into a creamy, cheesy sauce.

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