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Creamy casarecce pasta with ricotta, basil pesto and veggies
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5 from 1 vote

Casarecce Pasta Recipe with Zucchini, Ricotta and Basil Pesto

Casarecce Pasta perfectly cooked al dente is tossed with fresh vegetables, a light, yet creamy ricotta sauce then topped with fresh basil pesto and Parmesan cheese. This Casarecce Pasta recipe has so much flavor, is easy to make and makes for a great vegetarian dinner option.
Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Mediterranean
Keyword casarecce pasta recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 440kcal

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 3 medium zucchini about a pound, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into 1/4-inch thick pieces
  • 2 medium yellow squash cut in half lengthwise and sliced into 1/4-inch thick pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 12 ounces dry caserecce pasta or any other short pasta
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup homemade or store-bought fresh basil pesto

Instructions

  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, chopped basil, lemon zest and red pepper flakes until well combined. Set aside.
  • Heat the oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently for 3-4 minutes or until they start to become translucent. Add the zucchini and the yellow squash and cook, stirring frequently for about 5-6 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and season with Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring often for about 5 additional minutes or until the zucchini and yellow squash become tender.
  • Stir in the garlic and cook for about a minute or until the garlic become fragrant. Remove from the heat.
  • Meanwhile, while the vegetables are cooking, cook the pasta in salted water according to package directions until al dente. Drain the pasta reserving 1 cup of cooking water.
  • Return the cooked pasta to the pot and turn the heat to medium low. Stir in the ricotta mixture and 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Toss well to coat the pasta evenly. Next, stir in the cooked vegetables and the Parmesan cheese and toss gently to combine.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper. The pasta should look creamy. You can add additional pasta water if necessary.
  • Scoop pasta into serving bowls and serve immediately drizzled with basil pesto and additional Parmesan cheese (optional).

Video

Notes

  • If you don’t have casarecce pasta handy, you can use any short pasta such as rotini, elbows, fusilli, campanelle, callentani or any other.
  • Always add salt to the pasta water. This simple step flavors the pasta from the very beginning.
  • Don’t overcook the pasta. The pasta should be cooked just al dente so although is tender, it should have a somewhat firm bite.
  • Save about a cup of the pasta water. This is essential to make the sauce.
  • If you don’t have any basil pesto, you can skip it although the combination of the creamy ricotta and basil pesto is delicious!
  • This pasta is best when served warm, after is made. Leftover can be kept in the fridge for about 2 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 440kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 256mg | Potassium: 818mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1027IU | Vitamin C: 49mg | Calcium: 286mg | Iron: 2mg