Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Zucchini Pasta with Fresh Ricotta

This dish was totally inspired by Deb's Zucchini Stand Pasta over at Smitten Kitchen. Of course, she was inspired by Michael Chiarello, so we're all just passing along a good thing for every one to enjoy.

Small changes I made to Deb's adaptation: I had fresh chive oil in the refrigerator (who doesn't?) so I used that and I also thought it would be pretty snappy to steam some chive strands and let them mingle through the pasta (they're in there, I swear, but I'm still working on my food styling skills). Finally, I had some home made ricotta, and I thought it would be pretty wonderful to drop a dollop on top.

Zucchini Pasta with Fresh Ricotta
serves two
  • 8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti (I like Bionature brand)
  • 8 ounces zucchini
  • handful of chives
  • 3-4 tablespoons of chive oil (or another flavored oil - see below)
  • 1/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
Cut the zucchini into julienne strips. This is easiest if you have a mandoline, but you can do it by hand if you don't.

Boil the pasta in heavily salted water. After about 6 minutes, place the zucchini and chives in a steamer basket and steam them over the boiling pasta (alternatively, steam them in a separate pot for about 2-3 minutes). Drain the pasta, reserving a little cooking water, when it's cooked al dente and toss with the zucchini, chives and chive oil. Add up to 1/2 cup of cooking water to make the dish saucier, if necessary.

Serve in individual bowls, topped with a spoonful of ricotta. Twirl a little ricotta into each bite as you eat the pasta or stir the ricotta into your bowl instead.

Chive Oil
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed, canola or some other mild-flavored oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
Put the chives into a blender and add the oil. Puree until the oil looks smooth. You can strain this to make it very smooth and silky or just leave it as is. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 or 4 days before using. The oil may separate, if so, just shake or stir the oil to reblend.


Julia said...

Try cooking the pasta half a minute or so less and putting the zucchini strips into the colander before you drain it. If you put right back into the pot, toss it with a little olive oil, and put the lid back on to steam it a minute or two it'll save a step and some equipment.

If nothing else, the moisture the zucchini releases is probably tastier than pasta water.

Sunday Cook said...

Folks, that is some varsity-level advice there from Julia. I strongly endorse this method and her point on the zucchini moisture is a good one.

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