Chef Chuck's Baked Pasta with Zucchini

Pasta al Forno con Zucchini

Another one of Chef Chuck's pasta recipes, this perfect seasonal dish of pasta and zucchini is ideal for the summer time. Just picked zucchini, fresh basil and sweet onions, great choices from the garden. The combination of the mascarpone and parmigiana are so creamy and smooth, this is a wonderful pasta dish.

Baked Pasta with Zucchini

1 pound Rigatoni
3 zucchini, sliced thin
1 onion, sliced
handful of fresh basil
8 ounces mascarpone
1/2 cup parmigiana cheese, grated
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs

Cook pasta in boiling salted water till al dente. In a food processor or blender combine zucchini, basil, mascarpone, parmigiana, salt and pepper, pulse leaving some zucchini whole. Meanwhile saute onions in olive oil, till soft, then add cheese mixture to pan. Heat for a minute or two, add pasta along with a little pasta water, stir together. Oil a baking dish, pour in pasta, top with parmigiana, breadcrumbs and a drizzle of olive oil.

Chef Chuck's Italian Dinner Rolls

These light and airy rolls are delightful anytime of the day. Some were flavored with salty mortadella and creamy ricotta and the other ones were filled with ricotta, plump red cherry tomatoes and refreshing young zucchini.

Dinner Rolls
 2 cups warm water

1 tablespoon dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar

4-5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt

1/2 pound mortadella, sliced thin
1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta
1 small zucchini, sliced thin
1 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Add 1 tablespoon of yeast to warm water and sugar, stir, let sit for 7 minutes (until foamy). Pour into mixer bowl or a food processor, set to a medium speed. Mix in one cup of flour at a time with salt until it forms into a ball of dough. Dust a board with flour and knead dough for 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, lightly coat with olive oil, cover with plastic wrap and layer a kitchen towel on top. Let rise in a warm area for 1 - 2 hours. When dough becomes 2-3 times it's original size, take out and cut in half. Roll out onto a flour dusted board until it has an oblong shape. Use 3/4 cup of the ricotta and crumble large pieces on the dough then layer slices of mortadella on top. Roll up and cut about 2 inches thick, with hands tighten up each piece and place cut side up on a small oiled baking pan. Place each piece tightly together. Using the other half of dough crumble the remaining ricotta, zucchini and tomatoes, roll and cut. Bake at 480 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes, cut apart and serve.