Our garden will soon be overflowing with zucchini and tomatoes; and one of my favorite ways to use up these excess vegetables is adding them to pasta. Nothing says summer more than a big bowl of pasta mixed with veggies. This dish is not only delicious but also good for you. Adding a dollop of ricotta cheese and chopped fresh mint to the finished plate provides a nice creamy texture and a hint of elegance to your meal.
Summertime Veggie Pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 small zucchini, sliced in half moons
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1-2 cups frozen peas
1 pound penne pasta
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
Ricotta cheese for serving
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Stir the penne into the boiling water. Cover the pot and return to boiling, stirring occasionally until pasta is tender but firm. Usually about 12 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil, crushed red pepper and garlic over medium heat. Cook until garlic becomes fragrant. Add zucchini and continue to cook, stirring occasionally about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of pasta water, peas and tomatoes; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat until pasta is ready.
When ready drain pasta and add to the pan with the vegetables. Return skillet to low heat and add mint; toss to coat. Season with salt and a splash of olive oil.
Dollop with ricotta cheese and serve immediately.