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pasta with zucchini, ricotta & basil

August 14, 2011

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.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. August 15, 2011 12:30 pm

    This looks gorgeous! Definitely putting this on my “to make” list!

  2. fati permalink
    August 17, 2011 2:04 pm

    i tried this recipe tonight! it was delicious my boyfriend loved it! my best wishes to your blog i’ts really interesting and fun!

  3. August 17, 2011 5:59 pm

    Oh yum! And I even have all of these ingredients on hand. Thanks!

  4. August 22, 2011 6:31 pm

    How lovely. My chef was right when he said we eat, first, with our eyes.

  5. September 7, 2011 10:09 am

    This is so simple, and so lovely! What a tasty looking summery dish!

  6. September 12, 2011 8:06 am

    I made a “similar-yet-different” recipe just yesterday; feel free to check it out if you’re interested (and need more zucchini ideas). 😉

  7. September 12, 2011 11:47 am

    This looks amazing. I was wondering how many servings you get out of this recipe? Can’t wait to try it.

    • September 13, 2011 1:29 pm

      Hi – generally I plan on 5-6 servings, depending on how hungry your eaters are!

  8. December 21, 2011 2:13 pm

    This looks so.good. I’m going to have to try it out soon for dinner.

  9. sandrine permalink
    June 14, 2012 7:18 pm

    this also tastes good! thank you for this recipe!

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