Cavatappi Pasta & Arugula Pesto with Summer Squash & Ricotta Salata

Cavatappi Pasta & Arugula Pesto

with Summer Squash & Ricotta Salata

30 MIN
2 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

In this gourmet pasta dish, our bright and easy pesto—made with arugula, almonds, lemon and a pinch of red pepper for subtle heat—give little hollow spirals of cavatappi plenty of verdant flavor. Zucchini sautéed with garlic scape (the gently curling, milder-flavored stalk of the garlic plant) adds welcome seasonal flavor and even more gorgeous green color. We’re finishing it all off with a sprinkling of ricotta salata—ricotta that’s been aged for several months until it develops a crumbly texture and pleasantly briny flavor.

Get Cooking
  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    800 Cals (est.)
fresh
ingredients
time-saving
tips & techniques
Prepare the ingredients:
1 Prepare the ingredients:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Finely chop the almonds. Quarter and deseed the lemon. Cut off and discard the ends of the zucchini; medium dice the zucchini. Thinly slice the garlic scape. Crumble the ricotta salata cheese.

Cook the pasta:
2 Cook the pasta:

Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Turn off the heat. Reserving ¾ cup of the pasta cooking water, drain the cooked pasta thoroughly. Return to the pot.

Cook & chop the arugula:
3 Cook & chop the arugula:

While the pasta cooks, in a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the arugula; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until wilted and bright green. Transfer to a cutting board and finely chop. Transfer the chopped arugula to a medium bowl. Wipe out the pan.

Make the pesto:
4 Make the pesto:

While the pasta continues to cook, to the bowl of chopped arugula, add the almonds, Parmesan cheese, the juice of 2 lemon wedges and as much of the red pepper flakes as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Slowly stir in enough olive oil to create a rough paste; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the zucchini & garlic scape:
5 Cook the zucchini & garlic scape:

While the pasta continues to cook, in the pan used to cook the arugula, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the zucchini and garlic scape; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned and slightly softened.

Finish the pasta & plate your dish:
6 Finish the pasta & plate your dish:

To the pot of cooked pasta, add the pesto and half the reserved pasta cooking water. Stir vigorously to coat the pasta until thoroughly combined; season with salt and pepper to taste. (If the sauce seems dry, gradually add the remaining pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.) Stir in the cooked zucchini and garlic scape. Divide the finished pasta between 2 dishes. Garnish with the ricotta salata cheese. Serve with the remaining lemon wedges on the side, if you’d like. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

1 Prepare the ingredients:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Finely chop the almonds. Quarter and deseed the lemon. Cut off and discard the ends of the zucchini; medium dice the zucchini. Thinly slice the garlic scape. Crumble the ricotta salata cheese.

2 Cook the pasta:

Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Turn off the heat. Reserving ¾ cup of the pasta cooking water, drain the cooked pasta thoroughly. Return to the pot.

Cook the pasta:
Cook & chop the arugula:
3 Cook & chop the arugula:

While the pasta cooks, in a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the arugula; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until wilted and bright green. Transfer to a cutting board and finely chop. Transfer the chopped arugula to a medium bowl. Wipe out the pan.

4 Make the pesto:

While the pasta continues to cook, to the bowl of chopped arugula, add the almonds, Parmesan cheese, the juice of 2 lemon wedges and as much of the red pepper flakes as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Slowly stir in enough olive oil to create a rough paste; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make the pesto:
Cook the zucchini & garlic scape:
5 Cook the zucchini & garlic scape:

While the pasta continues to cook, in the pan used to cook the arugula, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the zucchini and garlic scape; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned and slightly softened.

6 Finish the pasta & plate your dish:

To the pot of cooked pasta, add the pesto and half the reserved pasta cooking water. Stir vigorously to coat the pasta until thoroughly combined; season with salt and pepper to taste. (If the sauce seems dry, gradually add the remaining pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.) Stir in the cooked zucchini and garlic scape. Divide the finished pasta between 2 dishes. Garnish with the ricotta salata cheese. Serve with the remaining lemon wedges on the side, if you’d like. Enjoy!

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