Lenten cuisine: Butterfly pasta with zucchini and tomatoes

North Texas Catholic
(Mar 1, 2022) Feature

Butterfly pasta with zucchini and tomatoes

Butterfly pasta with zucchini and tomatoes

Father Joe Keating, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Muenster, spent four years in Rome earning a degree in theology, studying sacred music, and polishing his Italian, all the while appreciating some good pasta, no doubt.

He said, “This recipe is easy, delicious, and a perfect meatless meal for your Lenten Fridays. The zucchini really soaks up the olive oil and brings a lot of flavor to complement the fresh basil. Farfalle pasta is recommended, but in a pinch, you really could substitute another short pasta such as rigatoni. This dish is so quick that you can complete all the prep while waiting for the water to boil.” 

Our Thoughts: Beautiful, creamy, with a nice pop from the fresh basil. The red of the tomatoes, green of the zucchini, and white ricotta remind us of the Italian flag. The tomatoes and zucchini are softened by the ricotta, so this dish may past muster with any young vegetable skeptics in your house.

Butterfly pasta with zucchini and tomatoes

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Serves:  4


  • salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz. farfalle pasta (butterfly/bowtie shaped)
  • 30-40 grape/cherry tomatoes
  • 1 zucchini (medium sized)
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese
  1. Put 3-4 quarts of water in a pot on the back burner to boil. Salt the water generously.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat.
  3. Slice the tomatoes in half, lengthwise. Slice the zucchini in 1/4-inch circles.
  4. When the water boils, place the farfalle in the water and boil for the time indicated on the box.
  5. Cook zucchini slices in the olive oil for about three minutes on each side, then add the tomatoes and cook an additional five minutes until tender.
  6. With a fork, crush the tomatoes in the pan so that they release their juices.
  7. Add the ricotta cheese, melt and stir it into the tomatoes and zucchini.
  8. Tear the basil leaves into small pieces and mix into the sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add a little of the pasta water to the saucepan. If it’s too runny, add a little more ricotta. Taste and add salt if needed.
  9. Drain the pasta and toss it with the sauce. Buon appetito!

More Lenten recipes:

Indian rice porridge from Father Vijaya Mareedu, SAC

Vietnamese fried tofu in tomato sauce from the Dominican Sisters of Mary Immaculate

Slow-cooked zucchini and tomatoes with toasted breadcrumbs from Father Michael O'Sullivan, SAC

Lent, Lenten Cuisine, food, pasta, Father Joe Keating, trending-english