Saturday, August 15, 2015

Cheesy Roasted Zucchini Pasta Bake with Ricotta

I have been travelling to visit family recently--from the West to the East coast--to visit family. It was a great visit, even if weather did ground us in North Carolina for the night. This will be the last time I fly before the baby is born; I'm nearly in the third trimester and air travel is ill advised at that point. Things were hectic, getting ready for that trip and have not slowed down much since our return. I've really missed having the time to update the blog, and so I'm really excited to be back!

Apart from some fantastic and much needed family time--my Mom threw us a baby shower and I got to have my busy, world travelling family all in the same place to celebrate together--and relaxing both at the beach with my grandparents and at my Dad's turn of the century upstate NY house where we were lucky enough to babysit my three year old nephew, read stories and sing songs to him, and dine al fresco in my my Dad's and Nona's magnificent backyard garden, I also found some inspiration for my next post.

The inspiration for this dish comes from my dad's lovely zucchini squash, heavy on the vine. I was excited to make this pasta bake for him, but his kitchen is currently being renovated, so we settled on nostalgia in the form of my favorite local burrito place. Probably a good thing, because for someone who grows zucchini, my dad apparently doesn't like it very much. (Likely it,was Nona's idea to plant it)

Summer’s almost over and I have yet to post a zucchini recipe, so this is a perfect time for inspiration to hit. This creamy, rich pasta bake with be a hit with vegetarians and meat eaters alike. It is rich so to cut the richness I recommend serving it alongside arugula (rocket) dressed in fresh lemon juice and pepper.

Cheesy Roasted Zucchini Pasta Bake with Ricotta

Makes 6 enormous servings

3 small to medium zucchini squash, or two extra large, cut lengthwise into 1/4" strips
3/4 pound chunky pasta (such as campanelle or radiatore; shells or orecchiette will also work fine)
~1 Tablespoon olive oil
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 Tablespoons grated parmesan


1/2 cup cream
4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup milk
1 small pinch nutmeg (about 1/4 teaspoon)
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 425. Cover zucchini in olive oil, salt and pepper and lay in a single layer on a greased baking sheet. Bake until zucchini begins to caramelize, 12 - 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. Boil pasta according to package instructions; take pasta out 1 or 2 minutes before time suggested on package (it will continue to cook in the oven). Drain al dente cooked pasta and pour into baking dish.
3. In a small mixing bowl, beat egg into ricotta. Cut zucchini strips into 1/2" pieces and mix into cooked pasta. Turn oven down to 350.
4. Make the sauce: over low heat melt butter. Whisk cream and milk into melted butter. Do not allow to boil. Season with salt and pepper and add nutmeg. Allow to steep for 5 minutes, whisking frequently. Grate parmesan into sauce and whisk to combine. When cheese is melted, pour sauce over pasta.
5. Using a Tablespoon drop dollops of ricotta evenly over top of pasta.
6. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until ricotta has started to turn golden.

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