Rice Kernel loves pasta. Heck, we all love pasta. Our easiest strategy to make pasta dishes healthier is to increase the ratio of vegetables to noodles. This works particularly well with vegetables that are themselves in the shape of noodles.
Here zucchini are cut into long strips, tossed with sautéed garlic, red chile flakes, and basil, and bound with a simple sauce of reduced stock and scant Parmesan cheese (scant in our house, since FHE prefers a cheeseless stock-based sauce). It is a simple, light summer pasta that is so satisfying. My Dad even commented, “I didn’t realize how full of flavor zucchini are.” He and Rice Kernel were so gaily fishing out the green “noodles” all that remained at the end of our meal was a pile of lonesome linguine.
Pasta with Julienned Zucchini, from Rice Kernel’s kitchen
3/4 pound regular or whole-wheat dried pasta, such as spaghetti or linguine
3/4 pound zucchini, cut into uniform long, thin julienne strips
1 onion or 2 shallots, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 – 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (optional – I omit for FHE, since he’s happy with reduced stock, salt, and pepper)
3/4 – 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
3 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, then cook the pasta until al dente.
- In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a small skillet over low heat until shimmering. Add the onions/shallots and cook until translucent. Add red pepper flakes and garlic and cook briefly until the garlic is fragrant and soft but not browned, 2-3 minutes. Add zucchini and chicken stock. Season with salt. Simmer until the stock has reduced by about halfTurn off the heat.
- Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining the pasta, then return the noodles to the pot. Add optional Parmesan and basil. Toss well to combine, adding pasta water as needed to create a sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.