Friday, 17 May 2013

Keeping it Simple

Penne con Zucchine, Fagiolina & Ricotta Fresca
Penne with Zucchini, Shredded Beans & Ricotta Cheese

Pasta shouldn't be a complicated and fussy affair- but you should be fussy about how you choose to enjoy it! So many times, pasta is overdressed, has sauces that are way too rich and are ruined by being covered with too much cheese. Trust me- that is not the way to go! As with all things food- the best result is always going to be down to a good balance of flavors, textures and ingredients... and when you get that right, even a dish as simple as this one turns into a real delight!

This may look quite rich, but the pasta was dressed in only 1 tablespoon of ricotta at the end, with a little milk added for smoothness. Other than that, I used only 1 pat of butter to sautée the zucchini and the rest all came together wonderfully by itself. The Parmesan crisp on top was basically a little on my part. It was the last little chunk I had and not really enough to spread over the pasta adequately... so I sprinkled it onto my frying pan and let it crisp up- ta-dah! Set on top of the pasta with a tip of basil at the end, it did kind-of transform it and make it seem special! But it would have been just as excellent without- and I made it like this...

I got the pasta boiling and whilst it was bubbling away, quickly chopped some onion and garlic and began frying them gently in a pat of butter. I then took a small zucchini and grated it coarsely, and once the onion was nice and translucent, added it, along with a good sprinkle of salt, pepper and nutmeg. I then stirred it in well, gave it a minute or two to gently brown and then set it to one side.

The beans I used were the last few runner beans, cut finely and then added to the pasta after 5 minutes of cooking time. By the time the pasta was "al dente", so were the beans- and ready to be added to the zucchini in the frying pan and for it to go back on the heat!

I added a tablespoon of fresh ricotta and a little lemon zest, stirred it in well and added a splash of milk, just to get the ricotta more evenly dispersed. After a minute or two of stirring, the pasta was nicely coated and ready to serve! I gave it a final dusting of nutmeg and pepper and added the Parmesan crunch as a garnish. But as soon as I had taken my photos, I crumbled it up and scattered it over the whole dish... ssssh! Don't tell everyone though! That's the thing that really knocked this game out of the ball park! Hope you all try it and enjoy!

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