Marinated Zucchini Pasta
by Tori Pintar
Last summer the vegetable god himself, Ottolenghi, admitted that while everyone else tries to mask or use up the plethora of zucchini and summer squash that pours out of gardens in late summer, he has a full on love affair with it. I feel exactly the same and I could eat zucchini every day. It is so versatile and fun to cook with. Raw, sautéed, grilled, grated, fried, I will eat you all of August and all year long! When I saw this recipe from Healthyish this spring, I knew I had to make it and I knew it would be perfect with Blue Evolution pasta. Whether you’re in the minority like Ottolenghi and I, or you just have too much zucchini you chose to grow in your home garden, you’ll want to make this immediately. One of the best parts of this dish is that it can be served room temperature or warm, so you have lots of flexibility.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
3 medium zucchini or summer squash (or a mix of both), cut in half lengthwise
1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
¼ cup hazelnuts
4-5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ box of Blue Evolution Penne Pasta
¼ cup roughly chopped fresh oregano leaves, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons white vinegar (white wine, white balsamic and champagne are all good choices)
Zest from half a lemon
Juice from half a lemon, reserve the other half
¾ teaspoon maple syrup
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup fresh ricotta
Preheat oven to 300°F.
Mix squash with 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt in a colander; set over a bowl. Let rest 10 minutes, then pat dry with a dish towel.
Toast hazelnuts on a cookie sheet until golden brown, approximately 15–20 minutes. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. I left the skins on for ease but if you prefer, you can roll them in a dish towel after roasting to rub skins off. Let cool; crush into large pieces with the back of a knife or roughly chop.
In a medium bowl, combine oregano, garlic, vinegar, maple syrup, red pepper flakes, and 2 tablespoons oil, set aside.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large 12” skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Arrange squash, cut side down, in a single layer - breaking up larger pieces if needed to fit. Cook until golden brown, moving squash to ensure even browning, for approximately 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover (use a baking sheet if you don’t have a lid), and continue to cook until very tender, to almost a melty-like consistency. About 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare Blue Evolution pasta according to package directions and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Mix lemon zest with ricotta in a small bowl. Season with fresh cracked pepper and salt to taste.
Once squash is tender, remove to a cutting board and let cool. Cut into 2-3" pieces and return to the skillet with the drained pasta.
Add most of the dressing, tossing to coat. (If planning to serve at room temperature you’ll want to add all the dressing as the pasta and vegetables will continue to absorb the oil.) Season liberally with fresh cracked pepper and salt to taste.
Spread lemon ricotta over platter.
Top with pasta and squash mixture. Squeeze reserved lemon half over the top. Garnish generously with more oregano leaves and toasted hazelnuts. Drizzle with more dressing or olive oil as needed.
* This can sit out on your counter for a few hours or be stored in the fridge for a day and brought back to room temperature for about an hour before serving. *