Day 107: Pasta with Zucchini, Ricotta and Basil

Heavy for a side dish, heavy for an entreeMark Bittman (who's known in cooking circles as the Minimalist) rarely disappoints.

The problem is the pasta:zucchini ratio. Yes, the recipe reads Pasta with Zucchini not Zucchini with Pasta. But still, the zucchini was undetectable, even when I used only half the specified pasta.

We also found it heavy, more suitable perhaps for a winter meal than a summer one on the patio. It was decent cold, straight from the frig, if you like mac'n'cheese that way.

TOOL INVENTORY
  • Knives to trim/dice zucchini and chop basil
  • Colander to drain basil (could use paper towels or a salad spinner)
  • Dutch oven/large pot to cook pasta
  • Skillet to saute zucchini + spatula
  • Serving bowl


PASTA with ZUCCHINI, RICOTTA and BASIL
Active time: Didn't track, my estimate is 20 minutes
Time to table: Again, an estimate is 30 minutes
Made 9 cups (the recipe specified 2x the pasta and still said it would serve 4 - 6 people, that would be a LOT)


1 cup fresh basil
Water for pasta
Table salt
1/2 pound good dried pasta (I used 8 ounces of spinach fettucini, the recipe called for 16 ounces of penne)

1/4 cup olive oil (the recipe said this was the minimum amount, that some cooks would want to add more; in my pan, the zucchini was swimming in fat)
1 pound zucchini, trimmed and diced in 1/4 - 1/2 inch pieces
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon garlic

1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (preferably with a Microplane)

Wash the basil, drain in a colander and set aside

Fill a large pot with water, add salt and bring to a boil.

Heat a skillet over MEDIUM HIGH, add oil. When hot, add zucchini and salt to taste. Cook until the zucchini is brown, then lower the heat and cook until it is quite tender, about 15 minutes total.

About five minutes before the zucchini is done, add the garlic and begin to cook the pasta. When it's done, reserve about a cup of the cooking water before draining.

While the pasta cooks, warm a serving bowl by filling it with hot water for a few minutes. When it's warm, add the ricotta. Chop or tear the basil and add about half of it to the bowl. Use the reserved pasta water, starting with about a half cup, to thin the ricotta to the consistency of sauce. Add the pasta, the zucchini, the remaining basil and the Parmesan and stir well.

Taste and season with salt and pepper.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE
Per Cup: 239 Cal (46% from Fat, 16% from Protein, 37% from Carb); 10 g Protein; 13 g Tot Fat; 4 g Sat Fat; 23 g Carb; 4 g Fiber; 219 mg Calcium; 3 mg Iron; 133 mg Sodium; 43 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 5 points

ALANNA's TIPS
  • Consider a basil keeper for keeping fresh basil well, you know, fresh
SOURCE
Mark Bittman, New York Times July 13, 2005

1 comments:

Tried this, delicious! Really easy to make with only few ingredients.

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna