Pasta con zucchine e ricotta (Pasta with Zucchini and Ricotta)

Frankpasta, primi piatti28 Comments

Pasta con zucchine e ricotta (Pasta with Zucchini and Ricotta)

It may be super quick and simple to make, but Pasta with Zucchini and Ricotta is as delicious in its own way as any fancy special occasion dish. And it’s customizable, too. You can adjust measurements, and mix and match all sorts of optional ingredients to suit your taste and mood.

If you ask me, this is one of those dishes that epitomize everyday Italian home cooking at its best: easy going, unpretentious but really, really good.

Ingredients

Serves 4-6

  • 400g (14 oz) short pasta of your choice (see Notes)
  • 4 medium zucchini, cut into thin slices or little cubes
  • 2-3 shallots, finely minced
  • 250g (9 oz) ricotta cheese
  • 50g (2 oz) grated Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper

Optional:

  • A few fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces.

Directions

In a large skillet or sauté pan, sauté the shallots in abundant olive oil and a knob of butter for a minute or so, until wilted. Add the zucchini and raise the heat. Toss them as they cook until the zucchini is just tender, about 5 minutes or so. Turn off the heat when the zucchini are done.

Mix the ricotta and the grated Parmesan cheese, together with the basil leaves if using.

Meanwhile, boil the pasta in well salted water until al dente.

Drain the pasta, but not too well and add it to the skillet and toss it with the zucchini over gentle heat. Add the ricotta mixture and mix well.

Serve while still warm.

Pasta con zucchine e ricotta

 

Notes on Pasta with Zucchini and Ricotta

Needless to say, this is not a complicated dish, but you do need to be a bit careful with the zucchini. It can turn mushy if you overcook it. And supermarket zucchini does need generous seasoning to bring out its flavor. (If you grow your own, you’ll be surprised how flavorful zucchini can be.) And for this dishto be at its best, look for best quality ricotta.

You can use just about any sort of short pasta you like to make Pasta with Zucchini and Ricotta. Penne would be an excellent choice, but so would rigatoni, calamarate or paccheri if you like big, bold pasta shapes. Farfalle (aka “bowties”) or small shells or ditalini would be charming, more delicate options. Although you’ll come across recipes that call for spaghetti, I personally don’t consider this sauce ideal for long pastas.

Pasta with Zucchini and Ricotta is an easy-going dish. As is usual with Italian home recipes, measurements can vary tremendously. You’ll find ones calling for lots more ricotta, for example. I found this amount coated the pasta nicely without turning it sticky or stodgy. But feel free to experiment to find the balance of pasta, veg and cheese that suits your own tastes.

And you can experiment with ingredients, too. if you’re a carnivore, you might like a variation on this theme where you add little bits of pancetta, crumbled sausage or Speck to sauté along with the zucchini. Pescatarian might like another variation, where small shrimp are sautéed with the zucchini, or one with canned tuna added along with the pasta right before serving.

Pasta con zucchine e ricotta (Pasta with Zucchini and Ricotta)

Yield: Serves 4-6

Pasta con zucchine e ricotta (Pasta with Zucchini and Ricotta)

Ingredients

  • 400g (14 oz) short pasta of your choice (see Notes)
  • 4 medium zucchini, cut into thin slices or little cubes
  • 2-3 shallots, finely minced
  • 250g (9 oz) ricotta cheese
  • 50g (2 oz) grated Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • *Optional: A few basil leaves, torn into pieces

Directions

  1. In a large skillet or sauté pan, sauté the shallots in abundant olive oil and a knob of butter for a minute or so, until wilted. Add the zucchini and raise the heat. Toss them as they cook until the zucchini is just tender, about 5 minutes or so. Turn off the heat when the zucchini are done.
  2. Mix the ricotta and the grated Parmesan cheese, together with the basil leaves if using. 
  3. Meanwhile, boil the pasta in well salted water until al dente.
  4. Drain the pasta, but not too well and add it to the skillet and toss it with the zucchini over gentle heat. Add the ricotta mixture and mix well.
  5. Serve while still warm.
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28 Comments on “Pasta con zucchine e ricotta (Pasta with Zucchini and Ricotta)”

  1. Simple, delicious, satisfying! Yes, the garden grown zucchini are much fuller in flavor and actually worth the effort when time to plant. A great go to dish for any occasion.

  2. Just stumbled across the blog Frank, it’s so great thank you. Tried this recipe last night with some zucchini from the garden and it was perfect. Can’t wait to try more.

  3. What a wonderful Mediterranean dish! I tried something like this in a restaurant when I was in Milan. Yesterday I made this following your instructions and this pasta turned out absolutely delicious! I will definitely be making this again! Thanks for the great recipe, Frank!

    1. That’s fantastic, Annette. I’m always delighted to hear from readers who are discovering new dishes through the blog.

  4. Zucchini are in season now in Italy, therefore it is one of my favorite summer recipes. I add cherry or date tomatoes and cappers. I will try your recipe, it looks delicious. Happy summer, Frank! Paola

  5. You’re totally right about homegrown zucchini, Frank! We didn’t plant any this year as we had too much other stuff going on with the new house to deal with a garden, too. Next year, though! As far as this dish, it sounds delicious. We’re about to hit crazy zucchini season soon, and this would be a fun way to use up some extra zukes. And you’re right that this dish is easily customizable…the pancetta sounds like a great idea!

  6. I like the sounds of this: in my experience straight pasta con la ricotta can be so stodgy… I think the pairing with courgette is “azzeccato”: here in London, courgette are often hit and miss: they can be bitter, even if now, in summer, things should be ok. I will add some lemon zest, I think and i will first salt the courgettes: somehow, in my opinion, this intensifies their flavour
    grazie F

  7. Thank you Frank, for another inspiring recipe. We put it together tonight with small local fresh picked farmers market zucchini, lots of thinly sliced shallots, local farmstead basket ricotta, spinach farfalle and a dash of cream… Fantastico! (Photo to follow)

  8. This may be an everyday dish but, then, most of our days surely fit into that category ! Simple ingredients and but a short time in the kitchen to deliver deliciousness surely is to be applauded . . . yes, some tuna at the last moment seems appetizing . . . and I do like the plate you used . . .

  9. Mmm, tarantello di tonno. That sounds delicious and ideal for my inner cat. I won’t tell my real cat, Livia, how much larger a tuna is in relation to her (wee black gatta).

  10. This is definitely getting fresh basil from my balcony gardens (two, front and back, as is common in Montréal) and also goat+ewe’s milk ricotta. Perhaps some equally fresh chives as well.

    These very simple recipes also work well with whole grain (including farro) pasta. More elaborate recipes don’t usually. The quality of such pasta has greatly improved in recent years.

    1. I’m not particularly partial to whole grain pastas, based on past experience, but if you say they’ve improved lately, then I’ll give them another go.

  11. I stumbled on your website a couple months ago and I’ve made about 30 dishes from it ever since. They have all been fantastic and reminiscent of my childhood in Italy. I have read almost every post. Needless to say, I’m addicted!! Thank you for sharing real Italian food and the stories that go along with it. This dish will be my next meal!!

    1. I’m delighted that you’re enjoying and actually cooking from the website, Veronica! That’s what it’s all about for a food blogger.

  12. I plan to get some fresh goat ricotta at the farmers market tomorrow morning, and since zucchini are also in season now, this is perfect timing, Frank! This is a perfect Monday night meal – full of flavor and easy after work.

    1. I agree, David, it’s a great weeknight dinner. Would be fabulous with goat ricotta. Do let us know how it turned out!

  13. Hooray ! 🙂 We had pasta, Ricotta and zucchini as a side dish with pork chops yesterday; too late for shallots here. Love your idea with basil and Parmesan ! What a beautiful coincidence ! Thank you so much and enjoy your weekend !

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