pasta with zucchini, ricotta & basil
Late last week, while digging through my fridge for something unrelated, I discovered a pile of zucchini and yellow squash that I’d (oops) forgotten about from the previous weeks’ CSA share. I know most people get pretty sick of the green squash when August rolls around, but as my garden crop has yet to be harvested (I was waaaaay late in planting this year), we’ve been eating zucchini at a pretty steady pace this summer and not yet tiring of it.
We like zucchini a number of different ways in our house – zucchini with parmesan is a favorite side dish of mine — but the steady volume we’ve been receiving this summer has “encouraged” me to branch out a bit. With a 20-month old at the table, you can bet that pasta is regularly on the menu, and this recipe was a huge hit with all of us.
I diced up the zukes into tiny cubes, browned them up in a pan with garlic, then tossed them with hot pasta, creamy ricotta cheese, some of the pasta cooking water to make it a little more “saucy,” and slivered basil from our garden. Zucchini and basil are a great flavor combination, and even Little A, who’s usually skeptical of zucchini’s mushy texture, gobbled up a full plate’s worth. Nothing makes me prouder.
For more ideas on cooking with zucchini, plus a recipe for Cheesy Zucchini Sticks, check out my recent post on the Edible Voices blog!
Pasta with Zucchini, Ricotta & Basil
Adapted from “How to Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound zucchini and/or yellow summer squash, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 pound dried pasta
1/2 cup basil, chopped, plus for more serving
grated parmesan cheese, for serving
Bring a pot of water to boil and salt it. Set the ricotta out at room temperature
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmery; add the diced zucchini and season generously with coarse salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini has started to brown. Add the garlic and stir for another minute or two, then turn off the heat.
Cook the pasta according to package directions. A few minutes before the pasta is done, remove about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Turn the heat back on the pan with the zucchini, and add about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, scraping up any brown bits that have formed on the bottom of the pan. Reserve the remaining pasta cooking water.
Toss the hot, drained pasta with the zucchini mixture, ricotta, and chopped basil, adding a little of the remaining pasta cooking water if it looks a little dry. Serve with grated parmesan cheese and sprinkled with a little additional chopped basil.