Spring into Pasta

Our weather this month has been intermittent sun and showers, very Springlike. I began craving something different for supper, something lemony and light, green and fresh, and something ridiculously easy.

What ended up on my fork was zucchini lemon ricotta pasta.

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My CSA box had a few zucchini and some lemons and there was leftover homemade ricotta in the fridge. Then I spotted a bag of tricolored egg pasta I had intended to eat with St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage that had never came to fruition, suddenly the combination seemed obvious.

In my pokey state it took a bit longer to prepare this supper but I didn’t mind. Cooking for myself brought a sense of sufficiency and satisfaction that has long been missing.

First, to prepare the zucchini I sliced it paper thin with a double-edged porcelain blade mandolin. I love this gadget, even one handed it’s easy to use.

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A colander set on a tray over a paper towel, with the mandolin on top.

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Perfect thin slices in seconds.

I had a few leaves on onions in my onion keeper, crudely sliced up and so I tossed them in a hot pan to soften.

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Meanwhile I grated a fat clove of garlic onto the zucchini, just steadying the grater with my right hand. When the onions were soft I tossed in the zucchini and garlic and gave them a quick stir to coat in the olive oil.

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Instead of standing at the stove to stir and toss the zucchini slices, I turned down the heat and put a lid on the pan and took a break.

Five minutes later, the zucchini was perfect.

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The egg pasta cooked in 3 minutes, colored red from bell peppers and green from spinach, so pretty for Spring.

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Pasta draining in my vintage sink.

There was a good cup of ricotta left. It was hard to resist eating it with a spoon. I added it to the zucchini and stirred it in well. It almost melted, producing into creamy richness, so lovely.

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Now for the lemon. I grated in the zest of a small Meyer lemon and the juice of half of it. I put in a few grinds of fresh pepper and a good sprinkling of my secret sexy weapon, Secret Stash Sea Salt’s Lavender Rosemary Sea Salt.

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This lovely creamy green mixture was ready for the pasta. A few tosses later with a cup of the pasta water to make the sauce all juicy and my supper was ready.

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A good spoonful of Parmesan cheese was a comforting touch. I had a half a glass of white wine and some iced tea and it was a great little supper.

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Happy Spring!

*****

REC:  Zucchini Lemon Ricotta Pasta

4 zucchini
1 T olive oil
1/2 an onion
2 cloves garlic
1 c ricotta
1/2 c reserved pasta water
salt and pepper (I used Lavender Rosemary salt from Secret Stash Salt
1/2 a lemon, juiced
1 tsp lemon zest (which is about the zest from the half lemon)
10 oz dried pasta (I used tricolore egg pasta)
1 T salt
Grated Parmesan

Bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta, add 1 T of salt and cook per package directions.  Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.

Finely slice the zucchini using a mandolin or into 1/8″ slices.  Mince or grate the garlic cloves.  Sautee the onion in a skillet over medium heat in the olive oil until limp and very tender.  Add the zucchini and garlic, toss a few times and cover for 5 minutes, or you can stir frequently, until the zucchini is very tender.   Season with salt and pepper and the lemon zest.

Add the ricotta cheese and stir until the cheese is fully incorporated into the vegetables.  Add 1/2 cup or more of the pasta water to make a thick creamy sauce.  Toss with the pasta and serve with Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4 as a first course or 2 as an entree.

You can also use the zucchini as an omlette filling.

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