Zucchini and ricotta in the fridge that needed to be used plus newly planted balcony parsley led to this creamy, yet light spring lunch, inspired by recipes for zucchine trifolate and Roman maccheroni con la ricotta from Marianne Kaltenbach’s “From the Kitchens of Italy”.
It’s a book that’s dated in the most charming way, based in a world of professional housewives raised on farms, vineyards or other country mansions, gifted with the time, money and food resources (including a well-stocked wine cellar) to cook just about anything. The recipes are still pretty darn good, though.
Tortiglioni con Ricotta e Zucchine Trifolate
Ingredients (feeds 2):
- 220g tortiglioni (or another pasta with sufficient holes and crevices for the creamy sauce)
- 1 small zucchino
- 2 tbsp. parsley, fresh or frozen
- 2 small cloves of garlic
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- salt, pepper
- 3 heaping tbsp. ricotta
- 1 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
- 3 tbsp. of the pasta cooking water
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- Wash the zucchino and pad it dry. Trim off the edges, then cut it first into slices (ca. 5mm thick) and then proceed to cut the slices into small dice (just staple a few slices and cut first lengthwise, then crosswise)
- In a small pan, heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil.
- Add 1 tbsp. of chopped parsley and 1 chopped or pressed clove o garlic. Let simmer for half a minute.
- Add the diced zucchini, stir until coated with the olive oil and parsley. Reduce heat to low (with weaker ovens (like mine): medium) and sauté the zucchini until it is somewhat soft and browning slightly. Remove from the heat, add another tbsp. of olive oil, the remaining tbsp. of parsley and the second clove of garlic, finely chopped or pressed. Stir in well and set aside (not back onto the heat), allowing it to settle for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat up water (add 1tsp. of salt and 2 tsp. of olive oil) for the pasta, add the pasta when the water is boiling. Reduce heat to 2/3.
- In a bowl, mix the ricotta with the Parmesan and the lemon juice. Add 3 tbsp. of the pasta cooking water and blend well, until the mass is airy and fluffy (I used the hand mixer). Season with salt and pepper.
- When the pasta is done, drain it and then pour it back into the pot. Add the ricotta cream and stir in well, until the pasta is evenly coated with it.
- Finally, stir in the zucchini.
- Serve immediately. Sprinkle with some additional Parmesan if you like to.