"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Recipes–Spaghetti with Zucchini


People do not often think of pasta with vegetables, but certain ones, if prepared properly, can be absolutely delicious.  Zucchini is one – but not the ordinary, supermarket variety, but the more flavorful kind – Italian heirlooms are best - usually found in farmers’ markets and often Whole Foods.  There is a variety that is easier to find and it is much lighter green in color than the popular variety, a bit fatter, and much tastier.

The trick is to brown the zucchini and the garlic.  The browned garlic becomes almost carmelized and mixed with the browned vegetable gives the oil an intense flavor and color which makes the recipe.  Without browning it is tasteless.  So….pick a good variety of zucchini, brown the garlic, and brown the zucchini.  It takes a bit of time over the skillet, but well worth it!

* 2  1/2 lbs. Italian-style zucchini (if possible.  Ordinary zucchini will work, but will have less taste)

* 4-5 Tbsp. olive oil

* 5-6 lg. cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

* 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

* 1/2 lb. spaghetti (I prefer spaghetti, not spaghettini)

* 1/2 tsp. salt

- Cut the zucchini into 1/2” round slices

- Put the oil in an iron skillet (iron skillet preferred because you can use very high heat, making browning easier and reducing the time to cook) and heat to high

- Put the chopped garlic in the oil and sautee until it is just beginning to brown

- Add the zucchini, and cook over high heat, turning frequently.  The cooking is done when most of the pieces of zucchini are browned (some can be almost black, which is good for flavor; while most are dark brown and some can be just lightly browned).  This should take about 20 minutes cooking. Add the salt and mix about half way through cooking.

- Plate the spaghetti, and place the zucchini with pan oil over each dish.  Add a drizzle of olive oil if there is not enough from the pan

- Grate the parmesan over the pasta and zucchini, add ground pepper

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