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When local vegetables are abundant at the market, highlight their fresh flavours with this simple pasta. Canadian Ricotta and Parmesan cheeses combine with milk for a light sauce that’s ready by the time the pasta is cooked.
12 oz (375 g) penne pasta
1 cup (250 mL) frozen or fresh green peas
1 Tbsp (15 mL) butter, for cooking
4 green onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 sweet red pepper, diced
1 cup (250 mL) Canadian Ricotta cheese
1 1/4 cups (300 mL) milk
1/3 cup (75 mL) grated Canadian Parmesan cheese, divided
salt and pepper
1 zucchini, shredded, divided
1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh basil
1 tsp (5 mL) grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp (15 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook penne according to package directions until almost tender. Stir in peas and boil for 1 minute.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; add onions, garlic, and red pepper and sauté for 3 minutes, or until tender. Stir in Ricotta cheese and then milk; reduce heat to medium-low and heat, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or just until hot (do not let boil). Stir in 1/4 cup (60 mL) of the Parmesan cheese. Remove from heat.
Drain pasta and return to pot. Pour sauce over top, stir in half of the zucchini, the basil, lemon zest, and juice; toss to coat. Season with up to 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt and pepper to taste. Divide among warmed serving bowls and sprinkle with remaining zucchini and cheese.
Recipe and photo provided by Dairy Farmers of Canada. For more recipe ideas visit dairygoodness.ca.
Don’t be tempted to rinse the pasta after draining it when making a hot pasta dish. The starch on the outside of the pasta helps the sauce cling and coat the noodles better, especially with a simple, un-thickened sauce like this one.
Tip for kids: to change things up, try fun-shapes of pasta such as farfalle (bow-ties), corkscrew-shaped, cavatappi (scoobi-doo), or any of the novelty shapes often available at large supermarkets and specialty stores.
For the adventurous: replace the peas with chopped asparagus or green beans. Add chunks of salmon, scallops, shrimp, and/or squid and poach in hot sauce before adding Parmesan in step 2.