After what feels like one of the longest winters in history, we're finally through into spring here in the southern hemisphere.
There are many things that mark this descent into the last part of the year: leaving work while it's still light outside, changing out the feather duvet for a lighter one, and tucking the slow cooker away into the back of the cupboard for another year.
But if you're not quite ready to cook all your dinners on the barbeque just yet, ease into the season by whipping up some seasonal spring pasta.
The bright, zingy favours will give you a taste of the warmer temperatures en route, but the comfort of the pasta will help appease any lingering chill in the evening air.
This easy fettuccine from Sylvia's Table is one of my favourite spring recipes.
It's perfect to make as zucchini prices start to drop from the eye-watering heights of winter.
Fettuccine with shredded zucchini, fresh ricotta, and lemon zest
- 500g fettuccine
- 2 medium-large or 4 small zucchini, cleaned but not peeled, and shredded
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 or 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
- Zest of 1 to 2 lemons
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
- 1 cup fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese, at room temperature
- Place a large pot of water over high heat. When the water is at a rolling boil, add a big pinch of salt, drop in the fettuccine, and stir. Cook the pasta, stirring from time to time, according to package directions for al dente, usually about 12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is warm, add the garlic and sauté until golden, about 1 minute. Add the lemon zest and cook for 30 seconds longer. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the zucchini, and cook, stirring, until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Remove and reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and quickly toss with the zucchini, parsley, and mint. Spoon on the ricotta and toss lightly again, add small amounts of the cooking water to lighten the cheese to the consistency you like, and serve.