Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Zucchini Strand Spaghetti

We are starting to hit that point in the summer where you struggle to figure out what to do with all of your zucchini and squash from the farmer's market/CSA.  Or if you are lucky enough to have your own garden, then you are probably inundated with insane amounts of squash of all sorts.  Luckily we have a small share at our CSA and only end up with 1-2 zucchinis and/or squashes every week.  Thus far this summer I have made zucchini bread, a few pasta recipes with zucchini, a zucchini salad, roast zucchini, and sauteed zucchini.  I still have zucchini fritters/pancakes, a lasagna recipe with zucchini, zucchini soup, zucchini pesto, zucchini crudo, and a zucchini tart left to go.  Hopefully by the time that I finish all of my recipes, our summer zucchini bounty will have dried up.  Otherwise I am going to start floundering for more zucchini recipes!  Pasta is a great vehicle for using zucchini.  We have already made spaghetti, orzo, and penne rigate with zucchini.  If I stay at it, we might move onto shells and various other forms of pasta.  But I'm trying not to fall back onto pasta too much in my quest to use up all of this gorgeous zucchini.

This pasta dish was nice and fresh, but not my favorite zucchini pasta dish that I have ever made.  Don't get me wrong, I liked it, but if it came down to a choice between this pasta versus the Disappearing Zucchini Orzo I would make the orzo.  But I did like the combination of the nutty whole wheat pasta, the zucchini, a touch of heat, and the basil.  If I had made Michael Chiarello's recipe as he wrote it and made the basil oil, it might really have brought this dish up another notch.  I think the basil oil would have added another wonderful level of freshness and flavor to the dish.  Unfortunately, we didn't have the time once I got home from work at 8pm or the patience to make the basil oil.  Maybe next time? 
Recipe after the jump!

Spaghetti with Olive Oil, Garlic, and Zucchini
Adapted from Michael Chiarello
Available on

3/4 pound whole-wheat dried spaghetti
3/4 pound zucchini
1/4 cup evoo
2 tbsp garlic, minced
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped 
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt.  Add the pasta and cook until al dente according to package instructions, about 8-10 minutes.  When the pasta is al dente, drain through a colander, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, cut the zucchini with the fine French-fry cutter on a mandoline, or on a mandoline into thin sheets and then julienned by hand into thin zucchini strings.  If you don't have a mandoline, cut zucchini by hand into the longest, finest julienne you can manage.  Add zucchini to a large mixing or serving bowl.

Heat evoo in a small skillet over medium heat until hot.  Add the garlic and saute briefly until garlic begins turning golden, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Add the red pepper flakes.  Quickly mix in the basil and remove from the heat. 

Add the hot pasta to the zucchini in the serving bowl.  Add garlic-basil oil and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano.  Toss well, adding reserved pasta cooking water as needed to make a smooth sauce. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper, as needed.  

Serve hot with additional Parm-Reg and additional basil cut into a fine chiffonade, if desired.

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