It’s officially spring here. Or maybe I should call it summer since it was in the 80s today. I swear my herb garden has grown since yesterday, don’t you agree?
Maybe I’m just being overly hopeful.
Either way, I made zucchini pasta for dinner tonight. This is one of our favorite dinners because it’s fast, easy, and delicious. I think this recipe originally came from here but I’ve been making it so long, I can’t be sure. A note of warning: most of the measurements are made up. There are no rules.
- 1 box whole wheat rotini pasta
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 4-6 zucchini
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
- 3 cloves chopped garlic
First put the water on to boil in a large pot.
Cut the ends off the zucchini. Then cut each zucchini into three or four segments of about the same length. Stand each segment on end and cut it into eight pieces like a pie. (Note: It doesn’t really matter how you cut the zucchini at all as long as the pieces are roughly the same size. This is just how I do it.)
Put about half the zucchini, about a tablespoon of olive oil, and a little salt in a large frying pan or sauce pan. You want as much of the zucchini to touch the bottom of the pan as possible. Cook it until the zucchini is soft and has some browned spots. Taste it to check if it’s done. Put that batch on a plate and do the same with the other half of the zucchini. (Note: Sometimes I do three batches. It all depends on how much zucchini I’m using.)
While you’re doing that, pour your pasta in the boiling water and cook until it’s done to your liking. I recommend tasting that too. I’m not a big believer in timers.
At some point, toast the pine nuts. Place them in an empty pan over medium heat until they are slightly golden and fragrant. I lied when I sad there were no rules. There is one: watch the pine nuts very carefully. They burn quickly, especially if they are old. I’ve burned several batches in my attempts at toasting.
When the pasta is done, drain it and return it to the pot. By that point the second batch of zucchini should be done so add all the zucchini and the pine nuts to the pasta.
In the pan you used for the zucchini, put about three cloves of chopped garlic (yes, I use the stuff in a jar for this), the dried basil, italian seasoning, and a little more olive oil. Make sure the herbs are covered by the oil. Cook this until the garlic turns golden and then pour it in with everything else. By the way, this would be better if you used fresh basil here, but this method works with things I have in my kitchen all the time so it’s a nice back up.
Stir it together then add about 3/4 of the cheese and stir some more. The cheese will melt and make everything stick together a little. Dish it up and top it with the remaining cheese.