San Francisco does not do summer.If you’ve ever been there during midsummer, you’ve likely been up here welcomed with fog, wind, and temperatures that are decidedly not summerlike. Despite having lived there for 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 the middle of July and 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. But this with a glass of Sonoma Coast Chardonnay and a view of the Pacific Ocean is a perfect fit.
What Is Maltagliati Pasta?What could be more fitting for a mismatched dish than some mismatched pasta, known as maltagliati? The term maltagliati (pronounced “mahl-tahl-yah-tee”) translates to “poorly cut” referring to oddly shaped scraps of the pasta-making process. Traditional pasta shops in Italy will sell you maltagliati though you often have to ask for it. The incongruous shapes haphazardly pick up the sauce and any other bits in their way, which is what makes it so perfect for a dish with a light sauce. 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.
Tips For Making This PastaThis is an easy pasta dish but there are still a few tips we’ve picked up along the way:
- How To Store Zucchini Blossoms: 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.
- Make Your Own Pasta: 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.
- Go Heavy On The Herbs: If there’s only one thing that makes this pasta, it’s the herbs. So don’t hold back and use more than you think you need!
- Master The Butter Sauce: Similar to the sauce we use for our Ricotta Ravioli, the idea here is to create a really delicate butter sauce. You want to mount the butter or, as the French say make a “beurre monté.” Essentially this is where you add the butter and let it just melt so that it stays emulsified but is melted enough to create a silky smooth sauce.
Other Recipes Using Summer VegetablesISO of more recipes to get your summer produce fix? Here are a few others we love:
- Roasted Eggplant, Crisp Garlic, and Basil Pasta Recipe
- Mexican Corn Panzanella Salad Recipe
Maltagliati Pasta With Ricotta Salata Recipe
For The Pasta:
- 8 ounces maltagliati pasta
For The Pasta Sauce:
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided, plus more for garnish
- 2 medium leeks trimmed, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced into half moon shapes
- kosher salt
- 4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 1/2 pound baby zucchini trimmed and thinly sliced
- Kernels from 2 corn cob (about 2 cups)
- About 12 fresh squash blossoms
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives or chervil
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon leaves
- 12 fresh basil leaves torn just before serving
- 2 ounces Ricotta Salata cheese, thinly sliced (can substitute well-rinsed Feta cheese)
- To Cook The Pasta: 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.
- 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.
- To Clean The Zucchini Blossoms: Clean 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.
- To Make The Pasta Sauce: 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.