Do your kids pick the green bits out of every meal you make? Herbs, gone. Spinach is spotted no matter how fine I chop it. Florets of broccoli? One of mine almost hyperventilates if I put it on her plate, lest it cross-contaminate other components of her meal. It really gets to me at times. And while I do modify my dishes slightly, I refuse to give in. I keep serving greens in the hope that one day they’ll all be eaten.
You can understand the trepidation I felt when I first served up this zucchini, ricotta & lemon pasta. It’s pretty green. But this pasta dish is a conundrum – the kids completely go for it. Maybe it’s because they’re used to eating pesto with pasta? I’m not sure, but I’m certainly not going to question it! I recommend scattering some chilli flakes on at the end for the grown-ups. And it can be ready in under 15 minutes if you’re really fast. Ready, set, cook!
- 500g penne
- 60ml olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 300g zucchini, grated (about 2-3 medium zucchini)
- zest of 1 large lemon
- 200g ricotta (use fresh ricotta from the deli)
- 80g parmesan or pecorino
- 60g butter
- sea salt and pepper
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Cook penne according to packet instructions, reserving a little of the cooking water at the end.
- Meanwhile, prepare your other ingredients.
- Once you've drained the pasta, put the same saucepan back on the stove over a medium heat. Warm olive oil before adding garlic, zucchini and zest. Cook for 1 minute, until aromatic.
- Toss the hot pasta back into the saucepan together with half the ricotta, half the Parmesan and all the butter. Add a little cooking water if it seems too dry. Season well.
- Serve topped with remaining ricotta and parmesan.