Zucchini and cheese are a heavenly match. Not to mention adding summer basil… lemon… You get the picture. 🙂 This bright and creamy dish is a perfect use for summer’s bounty of zucchini. I have been receiving TONS of zucchini in my CSA share. This dish is the first of three zucchini dishes I plan to share.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. It’s no surprise that it has been one of their most popular recipes recently! I used fresh Italian orecchiette pasta and we ate it with garlic bread and green salad. Quick, simple, and delicious.
- extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow or sweet onion, finely diced
- 2 pounds zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick pieces (for larger zucchini, cut in half lengthwise before slicing)
- coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced, or 2 tablespoons chopped green garlic
- 1 ounce basil, about 2 cups loose leaves
- 1 pound ziti or other dry pasta (I used fresh orecchiette)
- 8 ounces ricotta, about 1 cup
- pinch of crushed red pepper
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 ounces grated Parmesan, pecorino or a mixture, about 1 cup, plus more for serving
- Put a pot of water on to boil.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the onions in 3 tablespoons olive oil until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat as necessary to keep onions from browning.
- Add zucchini, season generously with salt and pepper, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until rather soft, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat.
- Meanwhile, use a mortar and pestle to pound garlic, basil and a little salt into a rough paste (or use a mini food processor). Stir (or pulse) in 3 tablespoons olive oil.
- Salt the pasta water well and put in the pasta, stirring. Boil per package instructions but make sure to keep pasta quite al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of cooking water.
- Add cooked pasta to zucchini in skillet and turn heat to medium-high.
- Add 1/2 cup cooking water, then the ricotta, crushed red pepper and lemon zest, stirring to distribute.
- Check seasoning and adjust. Cook for 1 minute more. Mixture should look creamy. Add a little more pasta water if necessary.
- Add the basil paste and half the grated cheese and quickly stir to incorporate. Spoon pasta into warm soup plates and sprinkle with additional cheese. Serve immediately.
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