The first warmth of spring is a beautiful thing. It brings everyone out of their wintry cocoons, peaks of first farm vegetables, bustling parks and farmers markets, drunk underaged loud spring breakers….ah yes, spring is definitely my favorite season. But let’s focus on the beautiful fresh produce! The produce in season are one of the easiest to work with….asparagus, spinach, carrots, artichokes, peas, strawberries. Important to know your seasonal vegetables, because peaked produce are the best kind, and the better quality your ingredients, the easier it is on your life to cook amazing food.
Pastas should be your perfect go-to dish to bring out the best of your to quality spring (and summer produce). And the perfect ingredient to a spring pasta? Ricotta. If you’ve never had it, fresh ricotta is quite life changing. When I was in Italy, I watched a man make ricotta with his hands, and it was beautiful. Man and cheese. Although this recipe incorporates ricotta as a main ingredient, putting a dollop of ricotta on any pasta dish is highly recommended.
I love this recipe not for its simplicity, but its flexibility. Here in Phoenix, our season warms up much more quickly, so we have some fat, red summer strawberries and summer squash on the market. I use zucchini, but this can easily swapped out for anything like asparagus, spinach, mushroom or any fresh pick from the garden or market. It’s also my/a good excuse to drink a glass of crisp, cool sauvignon blanc, and highly recommended.
Spicy Lemon Ricotta Pappardelle & Zucchini
Prep time: 5 min / Total Time: 30 min
- 8oz Trader Joe’s Lemon+Pepper Papardelle (1 pkg), or alternately 8 oz Papardelle + 1/2 lemon + fresh ground pepper
- 4 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 Zucchini, sliced into 1/4″ half moon slices
- 8 oz Ricotta
- 1-2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
- Handful of fresh basil leaves
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta to al dente (about 10 min). Save about 1 cup of reserve pasta water, then drain.
2. In a large pan, heat a generous amount of olive oil on med-high heat. Add in garlic and cook for 1 min until soft.
3. Add in zucchini. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until just tender, about 5-7 min.
4. Add pasta to the pan and toss with zucchini. Mix in ricotta and a dash of pasta water until well combined to desired consistency. Turn off heat.
5. Toss in crushed red pepper, and salt/pepper to taste. Top with fresh basil and parmesan.