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Pasta With Zucchini, Ricotta and Basil

Pasta With Zucchini, Ricotta and Basil

Published: July 13, 2005. Mark Bittman, New York Times

Time: 30 minutes.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.  

Salt and pepper

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

3 or 4 small-to-medium zucchini, about 1 pound, rinsed and cut into ¼- to ½-inch dice

1 teaspoon minced garlic, or more to taste

1 pound penne or other cut pasta 

1 cup good ricotta cheese

1 cup basil leaves, washed, dried and torn or chopped

½ cup or more freshly grated Parmesan, optional.

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Put olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; when hot add zucchini, along with a large pinch of salt and a sprinkling of pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini begins to brown, then lower heat and cook until it is quite tender, about 15 minutes total. About 5 minutes before it is done, stir in garlic and begin to cook pasta.

2. While pasta cooks, warm a serving bowl and put ricotta in it, along with about half the basil. When pasta is tender but not mushy, remove and drain it, reserving about a cup of its cooking liquid. Use as much of this liquid as necessary, a bit at a time, to thin ricotta until it reaches a saucy consistency. Toss with pasta, zucchini, remaining basil and Parmesan, if you are using it, then taste and adjust seasoning. Serve.