Pasta with Smashed Zucchini Cream
If you have an endless supply of zucchini right now, this is your recipe. A simple, garlic-boosted pasta, it uses two pounds of zucchini, and is endlessly adaptable. There is an incredible amount of zucchini coming out of our garden right now, and I'm focused on using it. This means ignoring recipes that call for small quantities of zucchini, turning my attention to making things that can put a real dent in the supply. Enter this simple, garlic-boosted pasta. It uses two pounds of zucchini, and is endlessly adaptable. I used long, slender bucatini pasta this time around, but enjoy this recipe with a wide range of pasta shapes. It's nice with whole wheat pasta, or even some of the alternative lentil noodles. It's particularly good with textured, short pastas because the sauce and garlicky zucchini chunks get caught up in every bite.
Once you have your smashed zucchini sauce and pasta as a foundation, you can take this in a lot of different directions. We've been finishing it off with lots of halved cherry tomatoes plus garlic bread crumbs in place of the sliced almonds. The flavor pop of sweet from the tomatoes alongs with the crunchy crisp of the breadcrumbs is great. Alternately, you can boost the whole situation nutritionally by stirring in a few handfuls of thinly sliced kale that you've massaged with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice. You can also make more Asian-inspired, brothy version by adding more water to the zucchini, add a dollop of favorite curry paste, and use rice noodles. Top with crispy, grilled or oven roasted mushrooms and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil. Or, simply add a few dollops of pesto to the smashed zucchini sauce to up the summer basil factor.
- 8 ounces dried pasta
- 3-4 medium zucchini (2 lbs), washed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 6-8 medium cloves garlic, grated on microplane
- 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese (fluffy, not packed)
- 1 cup basil, thinly sliced
- black pepper
- toasted almond slices