Summer Pasta with Zucchini & Ricotta

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Summer's NOT over just yet and I have one more dish bursting with fresh summer flavors! This dish is so simple and uses one of my favorite flavor combinations! Zucchini with basil, lemon and ricotta! It's the perfect pasta dish for summer. 

 Some of my favorite flavors of summer, zucchini, lemon & basil! 

Some of my favorite flavors of summer, zucchini, lemon & basil! 

I came up with the dish after going a little overboard on my zucchini purchase at the farmer's market - I couldn't help it! They've been beautiful and delicious all summer long! I thought about using them for my First Night in Naples Pasta - but I wanted a vegetarian take on it. Which led me to a water or stock based sauce, and then ricotta, which is always delicious with lemon. And since my basil is about the size of a small tree I figured throwing some of that in wouldn't hurt either. 

 Ricotta combined with water or stock makes a delicious, creamy sauce that doesn't feel too heavy.

Ricotta combined with water or stock makes a delicious, creamy sauce that doesn't feel too heavy.

Ta-da! Summer Pasta with Zucchini & Ricotta. It's a great weeknight dish, but it also makes a beautiful presentation as a vegetarian main or even a side dish or first course to a larger meal or BBQ. I hope you guys enjoy this dish along with these last few days of summer!

 Summer Pasta with Zucchini & Ricotta

Summer Pasta with Zucchini & Ricotta

Summer Pasta with Zucchini & Ricotta
Serves 6

1 lb. rigatoni
2 tbs. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 small zucchini (or 1 large), shredded on a box grater (let drain on paper towel)
1 c. vegetable stock (or use the pasta water)
5-6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
zest of 1 lemon
1/3 c. fresh ricotta cheese
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
salt & pepper

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, well salted water until al-dente, about 7 minutes. 

In a large sauce pan, add olive oil, heat over medium until shiny, then add in onion. Cook until opaque, about 5 minutes.

Add in zucchini and gently stir. 

Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking water and add it to the pan with the vegetables. Add in stock or water and stir to make sure pasta doesn't stick. 

Add basil and lemon zest to the pasta. Turn off the heat and then add in ricotta and parmesan. Stir until the ricotta loosens up and combines with the liquid to form a slightly creamy sauce. Season generously with salt & pepper.

Serve warm with an extra sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Buon Appetito!