On rare occasions I take the time to sit in the recreation room in my dorm and watch the Food Network. I really love most of the chefs and the shows that are on in the daytime: 30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray, Paula’s Best Dishes, Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello, Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller, Giada at Home, and Barefoot Contessa. It’s these thirty-minute TV spots that really get me cooking, and also I just like to curl up on the couch and watch people make great food… what could be better?
This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of when my boyfriend and I first met (our actual relationship anniversary is next month), and I wanted to cook a delicious meal for him. Well Michael Chiarello was quick to the punch, and I got a great recipe from his show on Friday. He calls it “Spaghettini Squared: Pasta with Olive Oil, Garlic and Zucchini.
As per usual, I decided to change around some things in the recipe, because of time and of course not being able to find all of the ingredients. This recipe is really simple, so if you want you can substitute whatever long pasta you like!
Pasta with Zucchini
3/4 pound of linguini (whole wheat or regular)
3/4 pound zucchini (Buy it long so you can get long pieces)
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used a little less)
2 Tablespoons minced garlic (or more if you’d like)
1 Small Shallot
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (1/4 will not make this spicy, my boyfriend hates spicy and he couldn’t taste them at all)
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped basil leaves (make sure to take off all of the stems)
2 tablespoons finely chopped italian or flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesano reggiano
In his recipe, he calls for basil oil. I’ve never made basil oil, and I’m sure it’s great and I encourage you to try it, but I didn’t have time (or enough basil) to make it. Michael includes his recipe for basil oil in the link.
You will also need a good knife; a big bowl; a pot of boiling, well-salted water, a cutting board or other cutting surface, and all the appropriate stirring, serving and mixing utensils.
If you don’t have a mandoline or a “thin french fry cutter” just use a plain old knife to cut your zucchini. You want your slices to be as thin as possible and as long as possible. I started by cutting my 3/4 pound zucchini in half and then cutting fat strips into thin strips. It took a little while, but it’s worth it. Once you’ve cut the zucchini into “spaghetti” shapes, toss it in a bowl with a little salt and pepper and set aside.
If you can’t cut your zucchini thin, then steam it or microwave it briefly.
Chop up everything. Mince your garlic and your shallot; wash, dry and chop your basil and your parsley; and get your red pepper flakes ready. I did the next step by having my garlic, shallot, basil, parsley and pepper on one cutting board that I could carry over to the stove.
Start to cook your pasta when all of these ingredients are chopped up.
Heat up the olive oil in a frying pain (it doesn’t have to be huge). When the oil is just hot enough, throw in the onion and the garlic. You’re basically “deep-frying” it, but you still want to make sure you do not burn the garlic, or else you have to start over! When the onion and garlic start to turn golden brown, add the RPF’s and the basil and parsley, and remove from the heat. Mix everything together until the herbs wilt.
Drain your pasta and pour it in the same bowl as the zucchini slices, then pour your “sauce” or oil mixture over the pasta, and mix together. You may need a 1/4- 1/2 cup of pasta water to break up the herbs in the oil.
Once you have mixed everything together, grate the cheese on top, and mix that in as well. Serve with a leaf of basil, and some more freshly grated parmesan.
You can’t go wrong with this dish, it’s vegetarian, and could be vegan without the cheese, and it’s absolutely delicious. If you’re worried about your oil intake, then cut the amount in half. You really only need it to cook those few ingredients and lightly coat your dish.
Enjoy with a side dish of roasted broccoli or cauliflower and a nice glass of non-alcoholic ginger beer. I recommend Bundaberg.
Love and Happy Spatulas,