This is the time of year when local farms are able to fill grocery stores with their summer bounty! Baskets of zucchini, field tomatoes, corn….bouquets of beautiful herbs…gorgeous onions and garlic…the list goes on. I am always tempted by this type of product in the grocery store because its so different than the bland, imported food we are subjected to for much of the year. I also find my own garden at home is overflowing! And I am always overwhelmed by the amount of zucchini I get…enter this simple zucchini pasta perfect for a quick weeknight meal. Bonus…you don’t have to use zucchini, you can use whatever veg you want!
- 1 package of any type of pasta, I prefer penne rigate or spaghetti
- Olive oil
- 4 medium zucchini (nice to have a mix of yellow and green if possible) thinly sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- Chili flakes
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 2 to 3 Tbsp butter
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 1/2 cup pecorino cheese, freshly grated
- Mixed herbs chopped
If you google “pasta with zucchini” you will find a ton of recipes, some use cream, some don’t, some are baked, some cook the zucchini and some do not…all are great. This is the way I have been cooking this for about 5 years now and it is my favourite method.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, don’t be afraid to over salt. Cook your pasta until al dente and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.
- While your pasta is cooking heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, zucchini, fresh thyme, chili flakes and season with salt and pepper. The zucchini will release lots of liquid which will then evaporate as it cooks. Once the zucchini is golden (about 5 to 10 minutes) add the butter and roughly mash the zucchini with the back of your wooden spoon.
- Add 3/4 cup pasta water to the skillet and bring it to a simmer.
- Add your drained pasta and cheese to the pan and stir or toss with tongs until the cheese is melted. You can add more pasta water at this point if it needs to be smoothed out.
- Top with the fresh herbs (I love a mix of basil, tarragon and thyme but mint would be great too) and then toss.
Note – I do this same process with cherry tomatoes and add the pasta just when they are starting to split and burst.
If you try this with any summer veg please let me know in the comments! And I would love to see photos.