Dinner in 45 Minutes

'Baked' Pasta With Zucchini,

Tomatoes and Ricotta

6 to 8 servings

This pasta isn't baked, technically, but it has the spirit and character of a baked dish.

The recipe calls for pancetta, an Italian cured -- but not smoked -- bacon that is now available pre-sliced and packaged in the deli or meat section of most supermarkets. Its sweet and salty flavor adds depth to sauces and stir-fries.

No additional salt is needed in this dish. Serve with a simple green salad.

1 pound dried penne pasta

2 ounces pancetta, diced

1 medium onion (about 4 ounces), finely chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 pound (2 small) zucchini, cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch cubes

1 pound tomatoes, peeled and seeded, coarsely chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Lightly oil a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Set aside.

Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain well and transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, in a large pan over medium-high heat, cook the pancetta until it releases its fat and looks translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the onion, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the olive oil and the zucchini and cook for 4 to 6 minutes more, stirring occasionally, then add the tomatoes and pepper to taste. Cook the mixture for 2 to 3 minutes, continuing to stir, then remove from the heat and keep warm if the pasta isn't quite done.

Preheat the broiler to high.

Add the pancetta-zucchini mixture to the bowl of pasta, then add the ricotta cheese and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine thoroughly, and pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle evenly with the remaining Parmesan. Place under the broiler until the cheese melts and begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Per serving (based on 8): 346 calories, 16 g protein, 46 g carbohydrates, 10 g fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 4 g saturated fat, 273 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick; e-mail questions to food@washpost.com

-- Stephanie Witt Sedgwick

SHOPPING CART | Frozen Fun

New and cool frozen novelties come in enough varieties to meet everyone's need for a little hot-weather treat. Here are a few that we (or our pets) licked and liked so far this summer. Don't be alarmed by the phrase "quiescently frozen confection" on some labels; it means that the product, like a Popsicle, is chilled in a mold, as opposed to being stirred or agitated like ice cream.

-- Bonnie S. Benwick

If you feel like splurging:

* Godiva's Belgian Dark Chocolate Bar has dark chocolate ice cream coated in milk chocolate; its White Chocolate Raspberry Bar tastes as rich as it sounds (3.5 ounces, from $1.99 to $3.75). Available at the Godiva Boutiques at White Flint Mall and at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, as well as Rodman's stores, the cafe at Strathmore Hall Music Center in North Bethesda and Parkway Deli in Silver Spring.

* The Original Key West Lime Pie Bar is made with real Key lime juice and has a graham cracker coating just beneath its thin coating of dark chocolate. 3.25 ounces, $2.50, at Dean & DeLuca in Georgetown.

* Ben & Jerry's 'Wich features chewy, chocolate-chunk cookies with vanilla fudge chip ice cream in between. About $2.49, available at area Blockbuster stores, Wolf Trap Farm Park in Vienna and some area convenience stores.

With fewer calories or less fat:

* Popsicle flavor with 48 calories and no drips: Popsicle brand Intense Fruit Shots are tiny beads of strawberry-kiwi, tropical orange and fruit punch flavors packed in 1.7-ounce tubes. $2.89 for a box of six, available at some Shoppers Food Warehouse stores.

* PhillySwirl Sorbet Stix are gluten-free, egg-free, 99 percent fat-free and 50 calories per 1.75-ounce bar; Fruit 'n Vanilla Cream variety 12-pack of cherry, raspberry, orange and strawberry is about $2.99. Available at some Costco and BJ's Wholesale and Sam's Club stores, Shoppers Food Warehouse and some Giant Food locations.

* Fruitfull brand Cream Bars are made with chunks of real fruit and skim milk. At 4 ounces, they're slightly bigger than the usual frozen treat stick; the coconut flavor at 130 calories is the company's biggest seller at Washington area Latino markets. Also comes in banana, pina colada, strawberry, raspberry and peach.

* Fruitfull's Chocolate Yogurt Bar provides a hit of chocolate at 160 calories; these and the cream bars are from $1.09 to $1.39, available at Global Food in Manassas and Woodbridge, at Americana Grocery in Falls Church and Woodbridge and at Whole Foods Markets.

If you have lots of friends:

* Hire your own stocked-to-order, old-fashioned Good Humor ice cream truck and attendant. Price of $1.95 per frozen novelty (minimum order 500 pieces) includes the truck and server. Call Berliner Specialty Distributors of Hyattsville at 301-927-4444, Ext. 201, or go to www.berlinerfoods.com.

For your four-legged friends:

* United Fido Orbiters by Dogsters are ice-cream-style treats that look like ice cream sandwiches, but they're made with oat cookies and cheese-flavored whey solids. The four-pack of 2.75-ounce sandwiches is $2.99, available at some Giant Food stores or go to www.dogateers.com.

* Cool Claws nondairy frozen treats for cats are made with egg, dried whey solids and chicken fat; package of eight .75-ounce cups is $2.99, available at some Safeway stores.

TO DO

THURSDAY: Half-Pint Club -- kids' cooking class at Whole Foods Market, Falls Church. Free. Pre-registration required. 11 a.m. 7511 Leesburg Pike. Call 703-448-1600.

SATURDAY: Asian festival featuring cultural performances, music and food tastings of specialty dishes from 25 local restaurants. Sponsored by the Thai Tennis Organization in America. Free admission. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Lake Newport Tennis Facility, 11452 Baron Cameron Ave., Reston. Call 703-589-4144 or see www.asianfestivaldc.com.

SUNDAY: Dupont Circle Summer Market Tour -- hands-on cooking class and tour with Bonnie Moore at Sur La Table. $85. 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. 1101 S. Joyce St., Arlington. Call 703-414-3580.

MONDAY: Slow Food DC Farm dinner. $50 for nonmembers includes tax and tip. 6:30 p.m. Tower Oaks Lodge, 2 Preserve Pkwy., Rockville. Call 301-294-0200.

-- Terri Sapienza

PLEASE NOTE: Send notices -- including organization name, date, cost, time, address and phone number -- to: To Do, Food, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or food@washpost.com. Submissions must be received at least 14 days before publication.