05 August 2010

Zucchini with Mint and Ricotta

When I was in college I had a garden. Perhaps not a typical activity for a college co-ed, but I was pretty excited about having a backyard that went practically unused by my housemates, so at some stage I set to digging it up and beginning the lengthy process (including a call to the cable company to have them come out and spray paint the yard where the cables were buried in our yard after accidentally digging up a section), of tilling my earth and creating hospitable beds of soil for my little garden.  I grew peas and tomatoes and zucchini and Morning Glories.  The zucchini I let grow till they were the length of my forearm.  Somewhere I still have a photo of the giant monsters, and still remember the massive amounts of zucchini bread and zucchini latkes I made from them. 
This recipe I spied in the recent Food and Wine is more delicate and seemed perfect for using the lovely petite batons that arrived the other week.  This also cooks up quick as lightening and the complex flavors come together nicely with the addition of three simple spices and a lemon.  

Zucchini with Mint and Ricotta
Serves 4
Adapted from Food and Wine

4 medium zucchini (1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup fresh ricotta, for serving
Mint leaves, chopped for garnish

Preheat the oven to 450°. Spread the diced zucchini on a large rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Roast for about 18 minutes, until the zucchini are browned around the edges. Sprinkle the zucchini with the crushed red pepper, cumin seeds and fennel seeds and roast until fragrant, about 2 minutes longer.

Transfer the zucchini to a bowl. Toss with the lemon juice and season with salt. Dollop the ricotta alongside the zucchini and drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with the mint leaves and serve.

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