I was feeling less than inspired to cook on Saturday morning. The alarm went off, I scooted upstairs for my daily ritual of green tea and toast, did some yoga in the living room, and thought. And thought. And thought. I needed a new blog recipe, but nothing was coming to me. I went through all my cookbooks, tried to rack my brain for new ideas and even texted a friend, “What are you making for lunch today?” It wasn’t until Manu, the genius that he is, suggested, “Why don’t you make your favorite? Zucchini? And put some ricotta in it or something. You like that kind of thing.”
It made me realize that it’s good to stick to what you know, what you love. (Cue the clichè: “Don’t try to be someone you’re not!”) As soon as we start striving for “more” or “better” in life, we just end up back where we started, with the things we love. With zucchini and ricotta.
Penne with Zucchini and Ricotta
1 tbs olive oil
pinch chili flakes
2 medium zucchini, sliced into half moons
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 pound penne rigate
1/3 cup fresh ricotta (not the packaged kind, it’s really not the same.)
1/4 cup grated parmigiano (or cheese of your choice)
Heat a skillet over medium heat, add the oil and the chili flakes. Let sizzle for a few seconds. Add the chopped onion and the zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini are tender. In the meantime, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the penne according to instructions for al dente. Drain, reserving about 1/3 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. (You probably won’t use it all.) Toss penne in the skillet with the zucchini, lowering the heat to a simmer. Add the ricotta and a bit of the water at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Sprinkle with the parmigiano and serve immediately.
Ricotta is one of those rich-in-protein cheeses that’s actually good for you, so eat up, have seconds and remember when you’re feeling uninspired, to just get back to what you love.
P.S. Manu is right, and here is the evidence that I may be obsessed with zucchini.