Summer Pasta with Zucchini, Basil, & Ricotta

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
  1. Put a pot of water on to boil.
  2. 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.
  3. Add zucchini, season generously with salt and pepper, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until rather soft, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Add cooked pasta to zucchini in skillet and turn heat to medium-high.
  7. Add 1/2 cup cooking water, then the ricotta, crushed red pepper and lemon zest, stirring to distribute.
  8. Check seasoning and adjust. Cook for 1 minute more. Mixture should look creamy. Add a little more pasta water if necessary.
  9. 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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About Josette@thebrookcook

I live in Stony Brook, New York on Long Island. I love garlic and baking. My hobby (and love) is to try new recipes. My favorite recipe resources include The New York Times, Food and Wine, Bon Appetit, and Martha Stewart Living. Enjoy!

19 responses to “Summer Pasta with Zucchini, Basil, & Ricotta

  1. Love this Josette, I am a zucchini and ricotta fan. It looks heavenly!

  2. Lovely! I’ve been hunting around for a new flavour combo for pasta and this looks ideal!

  3. What a great way to use zucchini! It sounds delicious with the ricotta cheese. I will try this soon! It seems there is always more zucchini than people know what to do with, so the more zucchini recipes, the better. 😉

  4. Pingback: Weekly Favorite Food Posts | Edible Reflections

  5. I love how this dish is equally dominated by the orecchiette and vegetables! Sometimes I find pasta can have a bit too much pasta relative to other ingredients 🙂

  6. I love how you added ricotta for the creaminess. Looks fabulously delicious!

  7. This really elevated your zucchini. What a great dish!

  8. jessicanadelson

    Wow. Looks yummy. I make sautéed zucchini with cheese at least twice a week. Never thought of mixing it with pasta! I’ll try it soon!

  9. Looks delicious and hearty!

  10. Omg! That looks delicious 😃 ! We love zucchini 😊

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