Spaghetti with Zucchini-Cherry Tomato Sauce & Ricotta Salata

spaghetti with zucchini cherry tomato sauce and ricotta salata
  • 4Servings


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium or 4 small zucchini—halved, seeded and cut into 2 1/2-inch-long matchsticks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small red chile, such as finger or Fresno, finely chopped, or 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved, or 24 to 28 cocktail tomatoes (such as Campari), quartered
  • 1 cup (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves (15 to 20), torn
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • EVOO, for drizzling
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint (a handful), chopped
  • 1/2 pound ricotta salata, coarsely grated


Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

In a large skillet with a lid, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil, one turn of the pan, over medium-high. Add the zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and crisp-tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil, two turns of the pan; add the garlic and chile and swirl until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and basil and season with salt. Cover and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the tomatoes break down into a sauce, 10 to 12 minutes.

Salt the boiling water, add the pasta and cook until almost al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water; drain the pasta. Toss the pasta and cooking water with the sauce; drizzle with EVOO. Fold in the zucchini and season. Serve in shallow bowls topped with the mint and ricotta salata.