I love zucchini for its adaptiveness to both sweet and savory recipes. Last summer I made Ali Slagle’s recipe for Chicken-Zucchini Meatballs with Feta. You can’t go wrong with Lidia Bastianich’s recipe for Lemony Shrimp Over Zucchini either. For sweet recipes, Gourmet Magazine’s Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake or Jerrelle Guy’s yummy Zucchini Muffins with Cinnamon Crunch Topping are wonderful.
Recently my daughter sent me a recipe for Creamy Zucchini Pasta, a recipe she found on the website The Proper Modern. This delightful recipe takes a handful of ingredients and turns them into a luscious cream sauce that doesn’t rely on an overabundance of butter or cream. The addition of pasta cooking water helps extend the richness of the sauce. Besides the zucchini you’ll need shallots, fresh garlic, Parmesan cheese, fresh basil leaves, heavy cream and pasta cooking water. The recipe calls for a ½ cup of pasta water. I suggest reserving two cups as additional water made be needed to adjust the sauce to the consistency you prefer. Also, I like to use the pasta water when reheating leftovers in the microwave.
For those of you short on time, this recipe can be done in 30 minutes. If you would like some protein in the dish, you can add poached and chopped boneless chicken breast or sautéed shrimp.
The recipe is quite easy to prepare. Start a pot of water for the pasta. Dice and chop the zucchini and shallots and sautéed until softened. Next, add minced garlic. Once everything is very soft, add the cream, basil leaves and seasonings; simmer until the flavors meld together. Although the recipe calls to puree the vegetables with reserved pasta water, I did just the vegetables. Once the sauce is smooth, return it to the pan and stir in the Parmesan cheese.
Cook the pasta per the box instructions. The recipe suggested spaghetti, fusilli or bucatini; I used cavatappi. I suggest shapes such as fusilli, farfalle, orecchiette or any tubular shape to capture this rich sauce. Before draining, reserve 1-2 cups of water. Add the drained pasta back to the pot and pour the sauce over; stir. Add enough pasta water to get to the consistency you prefer. Taste; adjust seasonings. To serve, sprinkle additional Parmesan on top and perhaps a chiffonade of basil for garnish.
What a tasty pasta dish! It was creamy without being heavy. The sauce was flavorful from the combination of zucchini, basil and garlic. I can see myself making this again as it’s truly delicious!
Creamy Zucchini Pasta
From the website “The Modern Proper”
Holly Erickson & Natalie Mortimer
Prep time: 8 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
¼ cup olive oil
3 cups diced zucchini, from (2-3 medium)
2 small shallots, sliced (about 1 cup)
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
20 basil leaves
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
¾ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1-pound long pasta such as spaghetti, fusilli or bucatini
½ cup pasta water
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A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.