Friday, June 3, 2011

Zucchini Pasta

Tonight I made a delicious bowl of pasta for myself. I picked up a couple of zucchini on sale at Henry's, intent on coming up with something to do with them. In trying to think a little more outside the box than stir fry I came across a perfect recipe in Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day. The Summer Linguine recipe (p. 137) yielded inspiration for my take on summer squash-laden pasta. According to Heidi's notes on her recipe, it was the first to be set aside for the cookbook, and I can kind of see why. With just a few ingredients, the usually bland zucchini becomes a good companion for a bowl of pasta noodles. I only had about half of the ingredients that the original recipe called for, so I improvised with some of my own additions, and made it in a much smaller portion since I was only cooking for one.

The fun begins with grating a small-medium zucchini into a colander and sprinkling it with salt so it'll release some of its moisture. You let it drain for at least 10 minutes, which is about as long as boiling the water for the pasta takes, so things work out perfectly. Every few minutes I'd give the grated zucchini a squish with a fork to press some water out.

Rummaging through the kitchen produced a package of pretty little angel hair nests. The one I used tonight contained beet, giving it a nice pink color when cooked. This is only about 1 ounce of noodles.

Shortly before putting the pasta in the boiling water that I had prepared for it I sauteed a thinly sliced mushroom. When the mushroom was pretty well cooked, I added the shredded zucchini and a little bit of oil. This mix needs to cook until the zucchini is tender, which doesn't take too long. When it was getting close to done I dropped the pasta into the boiling water--it only took 2 minutes to cook.

And voila, the finished product! After draining the pasta I added it to the pan that the zucchini had been cooking in, mixed everything together, and added a little bit of butter. Once it was in my bowl I topped the pasta with a sprinkle of caramelized onions left over from this morning and some feta cheese. It was so good!

Zucchini Pasta
1 small-medium zucchini, grated
1 tsp salt
1 mushroom, halved and thinly sliced.
oil as needed
1 ounce angel hair pasta
feta cheese

1. Begin by grating the zucchini into a colander. Sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for 10+ minutes, pressing moisture out.
2. Bring water to a boil, heat up a pan to saute mushroom in.
3. Cook mushroom to desired tenderness on medium heat, then add shredded zucchini and 1 tsp oil to pan.
4. A couple of minutes into the zucchini cooking, add angel hair pasta to boiling water. If using a thicker pasta, plan accordingly so that your pasta is finished cooking before zucchini is tender.
5. When pasta is al dente, drain and add to pan with zucchini. Mix everything together, adding a little bit of butter if desired.
6. Transfer to serving bowl, top with feta cheese.

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