San Francisco does not do summer. If you've ever been there during midsummer, you've likely been up here a few welcomed with fog, wind, and temperatures that are decidedly unsummerlike. Despite having lived there over 7 years, I forget this, especially since it's when the rest of the nation is flirting with triple digit weather. So, I get it if you’re thinking it’s just too hot for pasta. But in chilly and cold S.F., it couldn't be more perfect. And the markets are still brimming with summer produce, so that’s when I want a summer pasta like this light, easy Maltagliati Pasta with Summer Vegetables with Ricotta Salata.
It’s a bit mismatched with bright summer flavors better accustomed to a cookout yet they’re tossed in a hot pasta filling enough for a blustery day. And what could be more fitting for a mismatched dish than some mismatched pasta, known as maltagliati. The term maltagliati translates to “poorly cut” referring to oddly shaped scraps of the pasta making process.
Any good pasta shop in Italy sells maltagliati and the incongruous shapes haphazardly pick up sauce and any other bits in their way, which is what makes it so perfect for this dish. With shreds of zucchini blossoms, discs of baby zucchini, and kernels of corn, the pasta makes for a sort of chaos that tastes very much in sync — kind of like the mismatched weather and produce that happens this time of year in the Bay area.
divided plus more for garnish
trimmed, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced into half moon shapes
trimmed and thinly sliced
(about 2 cups)
torn just before serving
cheese, thinly sliced (can substitute well-rinsed Feta chese)
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. When it comes to a boil, stir in the pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes or according to the package directions.
Maltagliati are uneven, broken-up squares of pasta. They can be hard to find but you can use lasagna sheets instead – just break them into bite-sized pieces and cook until al dente.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the leeks, season with salt and pepper and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and zucchini, plus 1 tablespoon of the oil and cook until the zucchini are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in the corn and turn off the heat.
Zucchini blossoms are most often found at farmers markets or Latin markets. They should be firm, fresh-looking, and free of any bruising or tears. Keep them refrigerated until you are ready to use them.
Clean zucchini blossoms by gently twisting the pistils (often covered in pollen) from the center of the flowers until they come off. Pull off the leaves at the bottom of the blossoms, and remove the stems. Using a damp paper towel, remove any dirt from the petals. Tear the squash blossoms into strips and stir into leek mixture.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta water. Return pasta pot over the stove and add half of the pasta water with the butter. Cook over medium-high heat until reduced by 1/3 and emulsified. Stir in pasta and zucchini mixture and stir until coated — add more pasta water if necessary so that each noodle is well coated. Add herbs, stir briefly, taste and add more salt and pepper, as desired. To serve, place pasta in bowls, top with ricotta salata, drizzle with remaining olive oil, and serve immediately.
Food styling and photography by Aida Mollenkamp