Summer Pasta Recipes, Part 1

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In the scorching summer heat, the last thing you want are super heavy foods that will put you in a food coma for the rest of the day. When it comes to summer foods, you can’t go wrong with simple and fresh ingredients that create bold flavors. The same goes for summer pasta. Trying out new recipes can be fun, but it can also be fairly messy. Once you have the proper tools to make sure your new dishes are organized and stored with ease, try these two summer pasta dishes. They're light, flavorful, and a perfect treat at the end of a warm summer day:



Pasta with Zucchini, Ricotta, and Basil


Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Time: 30 minutes


INGREDIENTS


Extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 pounds zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick pieces (for larger zucchini, cut in half lengthwise before slicing)
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced, or 2 tablespoons chopped green garlic
1 ounce basil, about 2 cups loose leaves
1 pound ziti or other dry pasta
8 ounces ricotta, about 1 cup (see recipe)
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
2 ounces grated Parmesan, pecorino or a mixture, about 1 cup, plus more for serving


PREPARATION


1. Put a pot of water on to boil. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the onions in 3 tablespoons olive oil until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat as necessary to keep onions from browning. Add zucchini, season generously with salt and pepper, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until rather soft, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat.
2. Meanwhile, use a mortar and pestle to pound garlic, basil, and a little salt into a rough paste (or use a mini food processor). Stir in 3 tablespoons olive oil.
3. Salt the pasta water well and put in the pasta, stirring. Boil per package instructions but make sure to keep pasta quite al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of cooking water.
4. Add cooked pasta to zucchini in skillet and turn heat to medium-high. Add 1/2 cup cooking water, then the ricotta, crushed red pepper and lemon zest, stirring to distribute. Check seasoning and adjust. Cook for 1 minute more. The mixture should appear creamy. Add a little more pasta water if necessary. Add the basil paste and half the grated cheese and quickly stir to incorporate. Spoon pasta into warm soup plates and sprinkle with additional cheese. Serve immediately.





Crab, Fennel, and Basil Spaghetti


Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 1 3/4 cups)
Time: 20 Mins

INGREDIENTS


8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups sliced cored fennel bulb (about 1 medium)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
12 ounces fresh lump crabmeat, picked
5 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint
4 Lemon Wedges


PREPARATION


1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting fat and salt. Drain pasta over a bowl, reserving 3/4 cup pasta cooking liquid for the sauce.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add fennel; sauté 7 minutes. Add crushed red pepper, salt, and garlic; cook 1 minute. Add crab; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pasta and reserved 3/4 cup pasta cooking liquid; toss to coat. Stir in 3 tablespoons parsley.
3. Divide pasta mixture among 4 bowls; top evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons parsley, basil, and mint. Serve with lemon wedges.

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