From The Southern Italian Table: Macaroni with Zucchini and Ricotta
I learned this dish from Gerardina Costanza, one of Cecilia’s amazing cooks and one of the women who assist me in my Cook at Seliano classes. This is a dish of few ingredients and very much about technique. The zucchini is cut two ways, into batons and finely chopped in a food processor. I especially like this sauce on elicone, "helicopters," whose large spirals catch the zucchini strips like no other pasta does. -- Arthur Schwartz
- 4 medium zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1 small onion
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup finely shredded flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound large macaroni, such as elicone, paccheri, or rigatoni
- 1 cup ricotta, at room temperature
- Grated Parmigiano or pecorino cheese
Cut 3 of the zucchini into fine strips, about 3 inches long by 1/4 inch. Chop the fourth very finely in a food processor. Slice the onion in half from root to stem end, then cut into fine strips in the same direction.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the zucchini strips until a few are just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and fry another 3 or 4 minutes, until the onion is wilted but still a little bit crunchy.
Add the grated zucchini and toss well with the already fried vegetables. Toss in the parsley. Fry only 1 minute, seasoning with salt and pepper. Transfer the vegetables to a large serving bowl.
Cook the pasta in at least 4 quarts of boiling water with 2 tablespoons of salt. Drain well and pour the pasta into the bowl with the vegetables. Add the ricotta and toss well.
Serve immediately, passing grated cheese at the table.
From Publishers Weekly
Schwartz (Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food
and Naples at Table
) showcases the cuisine and culture of Southern Italy in this lavishly photographed collection. An aficionado of all things Italian, Schwartz takes the reader on a culinary journey through Campania, Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria, Sicily and Molise. Along the way, he shares recipes along with tidbits of information about regional traditions, common ingredients such as olives and salumi, and items of special significance such as broken spaghetti. Schwartz provides recipe titles in Italian and in English, and he identifies which region(s) the dish comes from: lentil soup with sausage and broccoli rabe from Campania; fava puree and chicory from Puglia; and ricotta pancakes from Sicily. Including everything from appetizers to sweets, Schwartz exudes as much pleasure in savoring the simple tomato salad as he does salt-seared swordfish with garlic and mint. Recipes are easy to follow, don't require a ton of ingredients and don't take hours to make. Simple, hearty and wonderfully steeped in tradition, these dishes will tempt every palate and celebrate the rich cultural and culinary history of these remarkable areas. (Oct.)
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