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Seasonal food blog of Chef Deborah at Cuvée at The Greenporter Hotel

Penne pasta with zucchini, ricotta and garden herbs

July 24th, 2016 · No Comments · Agrotourism, Allergies, Brooklyn, Brunch, City Cooking, Columbus Day, Cooking Classes, Cuvee at The Greenporter Hotel, Dietary Restrictions, Dinner, Entertaining, Events, Fall Recipes, Gardening, Gluten-free, Greenport, Grilling, Italian, Kosher, leftovers, Long Island Wine, Low-Calorie, Lunch, Meatless Mondays, New York City, North Fork, Nut allergy, nut-free, Pasta, Queens, salad, Side Dishes, Snack, Summer, Summer Recipes, Tips, Vegetarian, Wine

Penne pasta with zucchini, basil and ricotta

Penne pasta with zucchini, basil and ricotta

Una ricetta buona, facile, veloce, economica, vegetariana e leggera… da fare.

With zucchini plentiful during this balmy summer, we had a request for a reposting of this satisfying, Meatless Monday, zucchini and pasta recipe. It is easy, inexpensive and beautiful to serve on a summer buffet.

This recipe is one that I learned from the landlord of my “pensione” where I spent a summer in Sicily as a graduate student living on pennies a day. Signora knew how to stretch a “lira” like no one else and she taught me how to make something out of nothing, from ingredients on hand. She was running a sustainable kitchen long before the term “cucina povera” was coined. If you are lucky enough to find yourself in the Village of Greenport on a Saturday morning, be sure the visit the Greenport Farmer’s Market along with several specialty shops like Vines & Branches, Bruce’s Cheese Emporium and the Market, where you can procure everything you will need to make this meal as a main or as a side dish for a cook-out buffet table along with olives, cheeses, green salad and grill shrimp or cured meats.

The tradition of Ricotta cheese in a pasta dish adds protein to a meal along with a deliciously creamy texture. Joined with vegetables like zucchini, that are in abundance during the summer, pasta and ricotta are perfect ingredients for a light summer pasta dinner al fresco. This dish pairs well with a dry but slightly floral Pinot Gris from Laurel Lake Vineyards.

Buon appetito!


1 pound of penne pasta of choice (whole wheat, gluten-free, or classic semolina)
4 medium zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds), sliced in thin rounds.
4 tablespoons EVOO
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup fresh garden basil, rough chopped. Set aside a few whole leaves for garnish.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the penne until al dente, drain and reserve  1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water for later.
Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, add the olive oil and sauté  or grill the zucchini until light golden brown, sprinkle with sea salt. Add pasta back to the zucchini, add the basil and toss.  Add the pasta water and Stir in the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and black pepper. Portion just before serving and add a dollop of ricotta cheese to each serving or serve on a large platter. Top with additional basil and a drizzle of EVOO.


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