Lime and Ricotta Courgette Pasta, a quick 15-minute meal that has flavors off the charts and a look that entices you into its layers!
Song of the day: "Big League" by Tom Cochrane.
Lime and Ricotta Courgette Pasta takes us on a journey of freshness meets flavors hosting beautiful bright notes of lime zest, fresh ricotta, and a wonderfully sauteed shoestring cut courgette (zucchini).
Lime is not something I use a lot of but recently it became a normal item to be seen in the crisper of our fridge. Lately, I have been watching Jamie Olivers 15-minute meals. I have to say, I love the energy he has and his way of being so into everything he does, truly inspiring. On one of his showes, he was making this amazing pasta that had me craving it so bad. A linguine with nicely cut yellow and green zucchini, a splash of e.v.o. oil, some lovely fresh mint and lemon juice and a quick toss and in 15 minutes Jamie had a meal that was beautiful to the eye and a real appetite teaser. I knew that I had to try this recipe and that I did, three times. Once, before Nicoletta returned, another for my Mom and her friend Pina, and today, wanting to share this amazing Lime and Ricotta Courgette Pasta with you!
This recipe is a bit different than Jamie's as we always try to use what we have if we do not have some of the ingredients needed for a recipe. It so happened that we had no lemons and only a lime in the fridge and that is how this wonderfully green full of juice and ready for use fruit came to be a regular in our fridge. I love this kind of cooking. Flying by the seat of your pants, quick thinking, meals made an easy experience. I did have to change two other ingredients, instead of fresh mint I used fresh basil, and I added ricotta. My mom and her friends had a fresh cheese making day and the end result, a massive amount of cheese products from ricotta to a more firm 'caciottina'. One thing you have to understand about Italian moms is there is never enough and when it comes to food, the more the better.
So getting back to the recipe I am the proud recipient of lots of ricotta and not wanting it to go to waste I thought it would be a great addition to this already wonderful pasta dish.
I like to have all the ingredients ready. I am somewhat of an organizational person and like to have things in order as to make jobs easier leaving time to cook in a relaxed and fun state. So gathering the ingredients we have:
- Courgette (yellow and green zucchini)
- Fresh ricotta
- Fresh basil
- Good quality e.v.o. oil
- Grated Grana Padano
- Some nice dried chili flakes
- Fresh chopped parsley
I love anything matchsticked or shoestring. It looks really nice especially with a long pasta like spaghetti and I believe in my experience that it tastes so so good. I saute the courgette with some olive oil and chili flakes seasoning and tasting to get it to where it needs to be.
One thing I want to reiterate is the pasta cooking time you need to back it off a bit. This pasta is finished in the pan where the zucchini or courgette has been sauteeing. I love this, as all those amazing flavors will seep into the strands of this pasta. I take the pasta out of the boiling salted water a couple of minutes before the required cooking time. TIP: remember, before putting your pasta into the boiling water, taste the water for salt. Pasta needs that salt to enhance its flavor so this is key to bringing the flavors where they need to be.
I also want to keep a glass of the cooking water. This I add to the saute pan to keep the pasta moist and also create a light sauce with the oil, chili flakes, ricotta and of course that wonderful lime zest and lime juice. The pasta finishes cooking in the saute pan, letting all those flavors infuse into the coarseness of the pasta. You may be thinking, coarseness in pasta? Yes, good pasta feels rough if you were to run your finger along it. What this does, it allows flavors and sauce to hold and infuse more and also allows the flavor of the pasta to come through. One other thing I want to mention, do not put oil in the cooking water for the pasta what this does is coat the pasta and does not let flavors come into it and also sauces just slide off. I absolutely love that 'al dente' texture. A slight bite really adds to the experience, not to mention when pasta is cooked right it does not sit heavy in your stomach and you will find digesting it a very pleasant experience!
Doesn't this Lime and Ricotta Courgette Pasta dish look absolutely scrumptious? Look at those strands of courgette beautifully cut and vibrant in color. The fresh basil adds those nice sparks of vibrancy and aroma. The pasta all coated with the ricotta, shreds of lime zest and just a smidge of the sauce from the pan, while those strands of Grana Padano mysteriously have us curious and anxious to try. I always finish with some fresh chopped parsley and that fresh sweet basil that I slivered. It just adds a nice finishing touch, along with a drizzle of olive oil.
When you set these plates down at the dinner table you are going to hear a lot of encouranging moans and words that will make you feel totally accomplished and deserving! That is not all, wait till they taste it..................
I love the flavors of this pasta dish. The spaghetti come through with a nice wheat crunch and flavor and then the symphony begins. The lime juice and olive oil truly a wonderful match as they both come to an understanding allowing the flavors to balance and harmonize. The ricotta coming in with a fresh creaminess as those tiny morsels melt in your mouth. I love the way the chili flakes bring a bit of heat to the sweetness of the courgette, and love that the match-sticked zucchini still have a slight crunch to them. The most amazing thing is the lime zest, it comes in with such freshness and subtlety with the peppery nature of the parsley and cracked black pepper tantalizing our taste buds. The slivers of sweet basil adding a most amazing aromatic to the mix not to mention that flavor that always makes us calm and happy.
This Lime and Ricotta Courgette Pasta is truly a symphony of flavor and texture. Our North-American lifestyle is fast and hectic and what I mostly hear from people is "I don't have time to cook" and they resort to pre-packaged, pre-cooked meals. I say hogwash and challenge you to try this recipe. If you are organized, you can have what I believe to be a gourmet and most delicious scrumptious dish in fifteen minutes. I really encourage you to give it a try, don't let a hectic life keep you from eating good and wholesome food. I know it is possible because we do it every day and our lives are pretty busy! Most of all have fun in the kitchen, Nicoletta and I joke, laugh, kiss, hug. Beautiful energy to be putting into the food you prepare!
Song of the day: "Big League" by Tom Cochrane.Print
- 360 g Spaghetti
- 3 Tablespoons e.v.o. oil
- Pinch of dried chili flakes
- 1 medium green zucchini
- 1 medium yellow zucchini
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- zest of one lime
- juice of one lime
- 6 leaves fresh basil slivered
- ½ cup fresh ricotta
- ½ cup grated Grana Padano
- 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
- Place a large pot of salted water to boil.
- Wash and cut yellow and green zucchini in half widthwise, then in half length wise. Cut into small stands creating a shoestring or match stick shape.
- In a saute pan drizzle in 2 tablespoons of the e.v.o. oil. Bring to a medium to high heat. Sprinkle in chili flakes. Toss in minced garlic followed by the courgette (zucchini) strands immediately, as to not let the garlic burn.
- Saute for about 5 minutes seasoning with fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.
- Take off heat and set aside.
- While courgette are sauteing, place spaghetti into the boiling water and cook for about 8 minutes or a couple of minutes before the suggested cooking time. Put saute pan with zucchini (courgette) onto heat again, toss in spaghetti and toss well making sure to get all the oil and courgette infused into the pasta. Keep some of the pasta cooking water.
- Zest the lime into the pan, and also squeeze the juice in and toss again.
- Sprinkle in ricotta and some of the grated Grana Padano and pour in some of the pasta water, just enough to create a bit of sauce.
- Sprinkle in fresh basil slivers, and chopped parsley, finish with a splash of olive oil, toss and take off heat. This last phase of cooking takes about 3-4 minutes.
- Plate pasta and finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of grated Grana Padano.
- Ready to serve. Enjoy!
- If you want to save some time you can dice or cut the courgette in half rounds.
- You save time by multitasking starting with the water to boil as you cut the zucchini, and also while the zucchini is sauteing you can start to cook the pasta.
- Another good tip is to have a kettle of water on boil and this will help speed up the process of boiling the water as you can pour the boiled water from the kettle into the pot.
- Make sure you have enough water in the pot and also to season it remembering to taste the water prior to putting the pasta in.
- The Grana Padano at the end can be shaved, this will give you a real boost in flavor.
- Watch the pasta cooking times and I suggest stop the cooking a couple of minutes prior to the total cooking time on the package.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Pasta, Vegetarian
- Method: Sauteing
- Cuisine: Italian Fusion
When I am not cooking, I enjoy playing musical instruments, singing, writing. I have learned over the years to live in gratitude and enjoy the moment.