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Rachael's Cool as a Zucchini Pasta

Rachael's Cool as a Zucchini Pasta


  • 2 pounds zucchini, about 2 medium

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, EVOO

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped or thinly sliced

  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried, lightly crushed

  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes, 1/3 palmful

  • Salt

  • 1/2 cup white wine

  • 1 lemon

  • 1 pound spaghetti, or orecchiette

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh ricotta cheese, sheep or cow milk, stir in the excess liquid or whey (do not drain)

  • 12 - 15 basil leaves, torn or chiffonade

  • Pepper

  • Freshly grated cheese to pass at table, if using sheep's milk ricotta, pass Pecorino; if using cow's milk, pass Parmigiano-Reggiano


Bring a large pot of water to boil for pasta.

If using spaghetti, halve the zucchini and scrape out seeds with a small spoon and thinly slice into half-moons. If you’re using orecchiette, chop zucchini into a ¼-inch dice.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with EVOO, 3 turns of the pan. Add the onions, garlic, thyme, chili flakes, and salt, stir a couple of minutes, then add zucchini and cook 4 to 5 minutes more, stirring frequently. Add wine and reduce the heat. Add the zest of the lemon.

Salt the pasta water generously and add the pasta. Cook 2 minutes less than directed by package so about 7 for spaghetti and 10 to 11 minutes for orecchiette. Remove a cup of starchy cooking water from the pot.

Drain pasta and add to zucchini along with the ricotta and the juice of the zested lemon. Toss to combine 1 to 2 minutes to absorb flavor. Wilt basil into pasta and sauce. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, and serve in shallow bowls and top with grated cheese at the table.