Another vegetarian option from my recent foray into meatless meals. This one tastes even better as leftovers as it does on the first day. It was almost as if it just needed some time for the flavours to really come out. It was super easy and totally delicious.
I actually came across this one while I was looking for a way to use my delicious ricotta cheese before it went bad. It’s from the NY Times and you can check it out HERE. My one suggestion is to have your mise-en-place fully prepared before you start this one. It needs attention and cooks quickly once you get started.
1 lb pasta – I used penne, though I’m sure fusilli would be an excellent alternative. Try for a pasta that will really grab on to the cheese and herbs.
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 zucchini, cut into 1/4inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup ricotta
2 cups basil leaves, chiffonade
Zest of 1 lemon
Pinch of red chilli flakes
Grated parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper
First, boil your pasta in salted water. Then, in a LARGE (and I mean large) skillet and over medium-high heat, cook your finely chopped onion in a few tablespoons of olive oil until softened. It takes some time, but give it 5 or 6 minutes and let them brown slightly. Add your zucchini and season GENEROUSLY with salt and pepper. Keep stirring occasionally and after about ten minutes, remove from the heat.
Then, in a fairly large mortar and pestle, combine your minced garlic, chiffonade basil and a good pinch of salt. Pound those ingredients until they form a sort of paste. Add a couple of tbsp of olive oil.
When your pasta is done, drain it, but reserve a cup of the cooking water. Add your pasta to the skillet and roll it around in the zucchini and onion mix and return the skillet to medium heat. Add your cooking water, the ricotta, red chilli flakes,and lemon zest. Check your seasoning, but keep stirring! It should be a lovely creamy mixture. Add your basil paste and some grated parmesan and it’s ready to serve.
This one is on my favourites list now. I dropped the ball again and quickly ate this dish before I could take a picture. Sorry!
UPDATE: Made it again. Here’s the picture.