I made this recipe tonight and liked it so much I decided to repost it. It was originally posted on August 17, 2006.
I’ve often tried to make this sort of light/summery pasta dish without a lot of success. Unless I use a large amount of olive oil or parmesan in the past the dish has always seemed rather bland. But this recipe is light and delicious! This is based on a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, but I cut the oil significantly, and increased the garlic, tomatoes, chili flakes, and basil amounts. I give options for a number of ingredients depending on how rich, spicy, starchy etc. you want your dinner to be.
Serves 2-3 as a main dish. For 3 use the larger amount of pasta.
- 1.25 pounds zucchini and/or summer squash (about 2 medium) halved lengthwise and then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
- kosher salt
- 4.5 ounces whole wheat farfalle or penne (or up to 7 ounces for a more starchy, less vegetable-y dish)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (add another 1 Tbs. at the end for a richer dish)
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (1/4 tsp. if you don’t like spicy food)
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, each tomato halved (or 2.5 cups diced tomatoes, preferably a mix of red and yellow or orange)
- 1/3 cup firmly packed chopped fresh basil (or up to 2/3 cup if you love basil and want more of a salad feel to the dish)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/8 cup pine nuts, toasted (2 Tbs.)
- 2 tablespoons grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese (about 1/2 ounce, or 4 Tbs. for a richer dish)
- may need salt to taste (depends on how well you removed the salt from the zucchini)
- freshly ground black pepper
- Prepare the zucchini and set it aside to drain for 30 minutes.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Get out a large serving bowl. Prepare all the seasonings and raw vegetables, and add to bowl. Mince the garlic and measure the chilic flakes and set aside in a small bowl.
- Add the pasta to the boiling water.
- Cook the zucchini.
- Drain the pasta. Add the zucchini and pasta to the serving bowl. Sprinkle on parmesan. Stir to combine and serve immediately.
- Zucchini: Wash and slice the squash. Toss the squash with 2 teaspoons kosher salt in a medium bowl; transfer to large colander, set colander over bowl, and let stand 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes are up, spread the squash evenly over double layer of paper or dish towels; pat dry with additional towels and wipe off residual salt. (You can skip the drying step if you want, but the zucchini won’t caramelize quite as well.) Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat until just before the oil starts to smoke; swirl to coat pan. Add the squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and slightly charred, 5 to 7 minutes. In the last minute add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Add the cooked zucchini to the serving bowl and toss to combine.
- Pasta: Bring 2 quarts water to rolling boil, covered, in a stockpot. When the water comes to a boil, add 2 teaspoons kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon table salt) and pasta, stir to separate, and cook until al dente. Drain and add to the serving bowl.
- Raw vegetables and seasoning: Wash, dry, and chop the basil and add to the serving bowl. Halve or quarter the tomatoes and add to the bowl. Add the balsamic vinegar. Toast the pine nuts and add to the bowl. Sprinkle on the parmesan and freshly ground black pepper.
Note, if you’re going to double the recipe you really need to cook the squash in two batches, since if you crowd the pan the squash will not brown. Also, if you do not have a 12 inch skillet you might also want to cook the squash in more than one batch.
This dish is a little low on protein, so I would make sure to eat a higher protein meal for lunch. Or serve the dish with a bowl of Italian flavored chickpea or lentil soup. But other than being low on protein the stats are surprisingly good. The dish has lots of vitamins, and a surprising amount of iron!
An old recipe that was originally posted on Oct 3, 2006.
Based on a recipe from the AMA cookbook. I’ve made this soup many times. I particularly like it for breakfast. It’s pretty authentic I think, since a Turkish friend makes a very similar soup, except he fries dried mint in oil before adding it to the soup, and adds some white rice with the lentils.
Heat in a large (3-5 qt?) saucepan or Dutch oven:
- 2 Tbs. olive oil (you can probably reduce this to 1 Tbs. if you want)
- 1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
- 1 celery rib, sliced
Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften and brown, about 6 minutes. Add:
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1.5 Tbs sweet paprika
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Then stir in:
- 5.5 cups vegetable broth (unsalted) or water and bouillon
- 1.5 cups red lentils, rinsed
- 1 cup chopped, seeded tomatoes (I used canned diced tomatoes)
- 1.5 Tbs tomato paste
- 3/4 tsp salt
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, until the lentils are very tender and almost completely dissolved, about 30 minutes. After the lentils are cooked you’ll need to add more water (about 2 cups) to achieve the consistency of a very thick soup.
Garnish with fresh minced mint, plain yogurt, and lemon juice.
Yields about 7.5 cups?
I made this today but I ran out of paprika so only had about half the amount. Thes soup turned out less vibrantly red and more brownish, and was somewhat bland. I really like the yogurt in it though. Something about the combination makes even nonfat plain yogurt taste incredibly rich and sweet.
Rating: B (This is a solid recipe that I enjoy. It’s also healthy and filling and easy to make. However, I wouldn’t fight for the leftovers.)
Derek: B (He enjoys it with the mint and yogurt but says it’s not terribly exciting.)