Thursday, July 7, 2011

Warm summer pasta with tomatoes, olives, ricotta, and zucchini

One of the best things about cooking in the summer is that the ingredients you have lying around the house are especially delicious. 

A few weeks back, both of us were too lazy to go to the grocery store but wanting to eat at home since we'd been going out a lot. With minimal rustling in the kitchen, I pulled together some heirloom tomatoes (a pound or so) and a couple of zucchini, both from our CSA box the week before; half a container of ricotta that needed to be used up; some pitted kalamata olives that had been hanging around the fridge for awhile; and a few kitchen staples (garlic, olive oil, parmesan, penne).

While the pasta cooked, I sliced up the zucchini into half moons and sauteed it very quickly in olive oil and garlic. I just wanted to take the raw edge off of it--I didn't want it soggy. I roughly chopped the olives and tomatoes (with skins and seeds intact--I was keeping the effort to a minimum) and tossed them into the pan with zucchini for one minute, just to warm them. A dash of salt and pepper and they were done.

When the penne was al dente, I tossed it with the ricotta until the pasta had a silky coating, then folded in the vegetables and a good handful of parmesan. A spoonful of starchy pasta water brought the dish together. 

I dished it up and presented it to the husband.

"Warm summer pasta with tomatoes, olives, ricotta, and zucchini," I announced solemnly.

In spite of his claim to not be very fond of vegetarian pastas, this was a hit with the husband. I resisted revealing that many of the ingredients had been sitting around a bit and needed to be used up. While I revel in finishing things off, this translates to him as "old food" and would have surely taken the luster off this pasta he was inhaling, which, for the record, made an excellent lunch the next day, served at room temperature.


  1. Nice! I love dishes like this. And come to think of it, I have nearly all those things in my fridge right now...

  2. I'll take a bowl of that "old food" pasta anytime. Especially love the ricotta in there!

  3. MEN!! Glad you won him over.
    Looks divine. And so simple. Simple is my favorite flavor.

  4. camille: give it a go!

    Connie: Yes, ricotta is a great "secret" makes almost every pasta better!

    cookie: Nicely said.

  5. Ricotta is magical in how it creates such a lovely, creamy pasta sauce with no effort at all. I bet it was fabulous with the tomatoes, too.

  6. Brilliant! I love dishes that can be tossed together and use up the produce that's been hanging around for a while. Definitely a winner. Did you 'fess up to hubby about the "old food" later? :)

  7. CJ: Yes...ricotta & tomatoes are a perfect combo!

    shaz: No, he's still in the dark.

  8. isn't it marvelous when one ingredient can create such a luscious sauce all by itself? great summer dish!

  9. My husband isn't much of a cook, but he's got a couple specialties. One is a super quick pasta dish very much like yours. It's always one of our faves.