Zucchini Tagliatelle with Chiles, Garlic, Mint and Sheep’s Milk Ricotta
The word "taglia" in italian means to cut, hence the many varieties of fresh pasta which bear a derivative of this word. Here we are literally "cutting" the zucchini to look like long pasta noodles and using artistic license to rename the traditional tagliatelle. The pasta makes a great addition to a light summer menu, especially if the guests are watching carbs. Take the time to find really good ricotta salata cheese- there are some great varieties from sardinia- and be sure to use excellent olive oil.
8 Each Green Zucchini
3 Each Garlic Cloves, very thinly sliced
1/3 Cup Mint Leaves, chopped
2 Each Fresno Chiles, 1 seeded, 1 not, both chopped
1/4 Cup White Wine
1/4 Cup Pine Nuts
4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus additional for garnish
1 Tbsp Butter
Crushed Chile Flakes, as needed
1/4 Cup Ricotta Salata Cheese, freshly grated
Using a Japanese mandolin with the medium julienne attachment, thinly slice the zucchini into long, lengthwise strips. Place the zucchini "pasta" into a large mixing bowl and season aggressively with salt, tossing through evenly.
Meanwhile in a large sauté pan heat the olive oil until very hot, almost smoking, and add the garlic and pine nuts. Toast until golden brown, but be sure not to burn (this will happen fast), then add the chilies and sauté briefly. Add the white wine to slow down the cooking process. Reduce the wine until almost nothing is left (85%) then add the zucchini and butter and toss through.
Finish by adding the mint leaves and adjusting the seasoning with salt and crushed chile flakes. Transfer to a serving plate and top with the ricotta salata and a healthy drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.