I needed to tell you everything about the dang recipe in the title.
Sorry about that.
There’s also wine….and cream…..and garlic.
Do you need to know more?
You shouldn’t. This is perfect. And easy. And delicious. And great for leftovers.
I made this last week for Jay and my BFF Heather before we went to a Candidate’s Forum for the upcoming school board election. We both work in nonprofit and made the grave error of believing that we would leave somewhat enlightened. Instead, we left having seen a slightly sloppier version of the presidential debates: fake smiles, weird formal phrasing, and rehearsed answers that rarely answer the question or give any insight into the actual candidate and not the beloved platform.
I’m slightly over the election, if you can’t tell.
So, we ate this pasta. And it was wonderful. And you should make it too!
Here’s what you need:
- 2 medium zucchini
- 4 servings spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 cup fresh herbs (I used a combo of mint and basil. I would do it again)
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup heavy cream (or half and half, you health nazi)
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
First, set a large pot of water with salt to high heat. Bring it to a boil for the noodles. While the water is coming to a boil, use a vegetable peeler to scrap through the entire zucchini, skins and all, to create pretty ribbons. This goes pretty quickly – just don’t cut off the stem end of the zucchini – use it as a handle! You can also cut your zucchini any way you want. I don’t care. It’ll be ok.
When the pasta water comes to a boil, drop the pasta into the pot and set a timer for 2 minutes less than directed on the package – we’re going to cook the zucchini in the same pot while the noodles are finishing!
Meanwhile, let’s start on the sauce: crush the garlic cloves with the side of a large knife and your weirdly-exposed fist.
Then remove and discard the peel.
Then finely chop the garlic.
Look how pretty these herbs are! Take any large stems out and save them for stock or toss ’em.
Give them a rough chop so they’ll be ready for the sauce in a minute, and grate the parmesan if it isn’t grated yet.
Now, heat a pan to medium heat with the olive oil. Add the garlic, and cook for 90 seconds until fragrant but not brown. I like to put the garlic in a cold pan to be sure it doesn’t cook too long – if you do that, it’ll take about 3 minutes.
When the garlic is very fragrant, zest the lemon directly over the pan – you can do this in advance too, if you’d like!
Stir the lemon zest into the garlic for 1 minute, and dump in the wine. Yum! Let it reduce by about half.
Add the cream and half the herbs, too. Delicious!
Check your pasta – is it almost done? If it is, dump in the zucchini and bring it to a boil for the last two minutes!
Right before you drain the pasta and zucchini, spoon a few ladles of starchy pasta water into the cream/wine sauce. That’ll give it a little more body.
When the pasta is drained, dump it into the sauce with the juice of half the lemon and half the cheese, then use tongs to toss everything together.
Then, add the pecans – save a few for topping!
Now, taste the pasta and add some salt and crushed red pepper if you like a little kick – how much is totally up to you.
Serve this with the rest of the herbs, cheese, and pecans. Throw a lemon wedge on each plate, and voila! Perfect, easy pasta.