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Fusilli with Raw Zucchini, Mascarpone and Ricotta

This is the consummate pasta dish for a kitchen-wary cook who nonetheless wants to show off a modicum of culinary savvy. It's also a wonderful solution for anyone who wants to get off easy on a hot summer day. Nothing but the pasta is cooked—the rest of the ingredients are blended until they become a lovely pale green paste. The mild, almost sweet taste of the mascarpone complements the other flavors, both savory and sweet.

Ingredients:

  • 2 small very fresh zucchini, trimmed and cut
      into large chunks
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. fusilli
  • 2 Tbs. coarse salt

Directions:

In a blender or food processor, combine the zucchini, cheeses, lemon zest and basil. Process until a light green paste forms. Season with salt and white pepper. Set aside.

Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and the coarse salt, stir well and cook until the pasta is al dente (tender but firm to the bite), about 9 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water.

Place all of the sauce in a warmed serving bowl and stir in the cooking water. Add the pasta and toss well to coat with the sauce. Serve immediately.
Serves 4 to 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Tuscany, by Lori De Mori (Time-Life Books, 2001).