Celebrate the flavours of summer with this seasonal Corn, Zucchini & Ricotta Pasta! Fresh corn is cooked with zucchini and orecchiette pasta before being tossed with the easiest and creamiest ricotta sauce. Topped with fresh basil leaves and extra dollops of ricotta, and you have the perfect summer recipe!
This recipe was created in collaboration with Red Barn Market.
Orecchiette Pasta- The Pasta of Choice
When thinking of what pasta to use in this recipe, orecchiette was a no brainer! Orecchiette means “little ear” in Italian, and when you look at this pasta, you can definitely see it! The little divot makes this pasta shape super distinct, and is the perfect little vessel to hold sauce and other ingredients.
I chose this pasta shape for this recipe just for that reason- to hold the yummy ricotta sauce and the small corn kernels. Once the pasta is tossed together with the ingredients, each piece of pasta gets a bit of sauce and a few corn kernels in it, which makes literally every bite so delicious!
You can find orecchiette pasta pretty widely these days in typical grocery stores, including Red Barn Market. If you can’t seem to find it for some reason (maybe it’s out of stock from so many people making this recipe 🤪), you can find it at Italian speciality food stores.
The Easiest & Creamiest Ricotta Sauce Ever
Creamy white pasta sauces can always be a bit tricky, having to make a bechamel sauce, adding milk, and praying that it stays smooth. But not anymore thanks to this recipe!
This creamy ricotta sauce is made by adding pasta water to ricotta cheese slowly to allow the ricotta cheese to slowly melt and thin to a savoury white sauce. I add the pasta water to a bowl of ricotta about 1/4 cup at a time to ensure the ricotta sauce stays super smooth. Slowly bringing up the temperature of the ricotta cheese by adding the hot pasta water also helps to ensure the ricotta sauce doesn’t curdle when you add it to the hot pasta and vegetables.
While this ricotta sauce is pretty good on it’s own, I’ve added a few tasty additions to add some more savoury and summery flavours to this sauce. Parmesan cheese adds a nice saltiness and savoury bite to the sauce, black pepper adds a bit of spice, and lemon zest helps to brighten everything up. The lemon zest truly makes this ricotta sauce so delicious and compliments the corn and zucchini super well!
Get the Recipe!
Corn, Zucchini & Ricotta Pasta
For the Pasta & Vegetables:
- Water for boiling
- 1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 250 grams orecchiette pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium zucchini about 2 cups, sliced into 2-mm thick rounds
- 3 ears fresh corn corn sliced off the cob (about 3 cups)
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup basil leaves roughly chopped, for garnish
For the Ricotta Sauce:
- 1 ½ cups extra smooth ricotta cheese plus ½ cup extra for garnish
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese finely grated
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup pasta water
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add 1 tablespoon of salt to the water, followed by the pasta. Stir, reduce the heat to medium, and let cook for 8-9 minutes (or according to package directions) until al dente.
- Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the olive oil, the zucchini rounds, and the remaining ½ teaspoon of sea salt. Fry for 2-3 minutes per side, or until the zucchini have softened and have become a light golden brown.
- Next, add the corn to the pan with the zucchini with the garlic and black pepper. Mix to combine and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the corn has become bright yellow.
- Next, make the ricotta sauce. Add the ricotta to a medium-sized bowl along with the Parmesan, lemon zest, and black pepper. Use a measuring cup to scoop ¼ cup of the pasta water from the pot and slowly add it into the ricotta mixture, mixing to combine. Continue to add the pasta water ¼ cup at a time, mixing in between each addition, until you have added 1 full cup. Set aside.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked pasta from the pot into the frying pan. Toss to combine.
- Next, reduce the heat to medium and add in the ricotta mixture. Toss to combine and cook for 2-3 more minutes, until the sauce is clinging to the pasta and there is very little water left in the pan.
- Serve in bowls garnished with basil leaves and an extra scoop of ricotta cheese. Serve immediately and enjoy!