inspiration for a quick lunch Pasta con Zucchini
In Italy there is a variety of Zucchini known as Romanesco, that are a bright-ish green with sort of ribbed bodies. Often sold with their flowers still attached, which you can batter and fry as an antipasto, use to top a pizza or roughly chop and include in the pasta sauce. The thing that not everyone gets about using green vegetables like zucchini and broccoli in pasta sauces, is that they need to be cooked down enough to make a sauce, that can coat the pasta properly, not bobbing around on top but wrapping themselves around the strands or tubes. In fact rigatoni is a often the best shape pasta to use because the sauce gets stuck inside the tubes.
To serve 4 people
400 g durum wheat pasta, spaghetti or rigatoni
4 medium zucchini – grated
2 cloves of garlic – peeled and squashed
50 g pancetta – chopped (optional)
Couple of cherry tomatoes (optional)
Extra virgin olive oil
Parsley – handful finely chopped
100 g Pecorino Romano – or Parmigiano grated
Bring a large saucepan of water to the BOIL.
Over a moderate flame, HEAT some olive oil in a good large frypan, adding the garlic and pancetta. Add grated zucchini, and tomatoes if you like, a sprinkle of salt and FRY, taking care not to burn.
Once the zucchini has started to cook it will take on a brighter color and nice glossy sheen. At this point ADD a couple of tablespoons of water from the cooking pot to keep the zucchini moist and continue reduction.
Once the water has come to the boil throw in the PASTA followed by a teaspoon of salt. Stir well.
Continue to COOK the sauce, and as the pasta cooks skim off the cooking water and continue to add to the zucchini sauce. Now the gluten from the cooking pasta will help to thicken up the sauce a little, which should be a good liquid consistency.
DRAIN the cooked pasta, throw into pan with zucchini sauce and TOSS together well, adding half of the grated pecorino. Salt and pepper to taste before SERVING, finishing with more grated pecorino and a drizzle of olive oil.