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June 27, 2007 / Tony

Pasta with Zucchini, Parmesan, and Bread Crumbs

 A reader has opined that perhaps I should post some easier recipes on this blog; recipes that readers might actually make at home.  As I strive to please, here’s a recipe that hopefully fits the bill:

Pasta with Zucchini, Parmesan, and Bread Crumbs, inspired by a recipe in Cooking Thin with Chef Kathleen

1 lb of dried pasta of your choice

1 small onion, diced ¼”

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 cups of ¼” diced zucchini

½ cup of shredded Parmesan cheese

1 cup of coarse breadcrumbs, toasted

¼ cup of chopped fresh basil (or 1 T dried) or herb(s) of your choice (try mint)

Olive oil to taste

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Prepare pasta according to the package directions.  Meanwhile, sauté the onion in a large sauté pan until softened and then add the garlic and zucchini.  Cook until the zucchini is just tender all the way through.  Season this mixture with Kosher salt and pepper.  Add the drained, cooked pasta to the pan along with the Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, and herb(s).  Add a good drizzle of olive oil and more Kosher salt and pepper to the pan and toss.  Taste and adjust the seasonings as well as the amount of olive oil.  Serve immediately. 

I love this dish.  It is is inexpensive, simple, and satisfying.  Here’s a few hints.  This dish can be made without the onion and garlic if you’re in a real hurry or if you don’t like either.  Don’t expect the dish to be as flavorful though.  You can also skip the toasting of the breadcrumbs although the dish will, depending on the type of breadcrumbs you’re using, may end up tasting a little pasty.  If you do not want to toast breadcrumbs, why not try Panko breadcrumbs?  They’re really crispy and will not get pasty on you.  Finally, olive oil is a key ingredient here so try to use a quality one.  You may find it odd that I am asking you to literally pour oil over the pasta but believe me, without a nice amount of olive oil in this dish, it tastes really, really dry.  Plus the olive oil gives the dish such a nice fruity flavor. 

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