Creamy Penne with Zucchini, Ricotta and Chickpeas

By • June 21, 2016 0 Comments

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Author Notes: Every summer zucchini seems to take over gardens everywhere and inevitably a neighbor will leave a pile on your doorstep. This vegetarian pasta takes advantage of the bounty and builds on a Deborah Madison recipe adding chickpeas for extra protein and the crunch of panko crumbs for texture.dailywaffle

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Serves 4

  • 1 T. + 1 t. olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup panko crumbs
  • 10 ounces penne pasta
  • ~ 1 pounds green and gold zucchini, cut into half inch slices on the bias and then into spears, so they’re roughly the same shape as the penne
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup fresh, whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese + more for serving
  1. To toast the panko, combine 1 t. olive oil and ¼ c. panko in a small pan over medium high heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the panko turns golden brown. Once it starts to brown, it will quickly burn, so keep stirring and turn the crumbs out of the pan as soon as they reach the desired color.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously with kosher salt and cook according to package directions for the minimum time recommended to reach al dente.
  3. While the penne is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium-heat. Add 1 T. olive oil and red pepper flakes. Add the zucchini and cook 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. You don’t want it to brown. Season the zucchini with a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to medium, stir in the garlic and chickpeas and cook for 2-3 minutes more until the chickpeas are heated through.
  4. When the pasta is done, reserve ½ c. pasta water. Drain the penne and add it directly to the pan of zucchini. Add the ricotta, stirring until the pasta is evenly coated. If your ricotta is fairly thick, add the pasta water, a little at a time, until the ricotta loosens and coats the pasta easily. Stir in the parmesan cheese.
  5. If serving it directly from the pan, sprinkle with the panko crumbs, otherwise just take the panko to the table and let each person do their own. Serve with additional parmesan cheese to garnish.

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