Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pasta with shredded zucchini

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There are nights when only a bowl of pasta will do. We all have them. Long days at work. Tired bones, tired minds. Pasta fills me up and brings on that calm evening glow. I always sleep well after a pasta dinner.

In the summer I often make a quick pasta sauce with shredded zucchini, tomato sauce and a splash of half-and-half. I try to get the ratio right: less pasta, more zucchini, the perfect balance of comforting carbs and good-for-you veggies. A bowl of pasta on the couch, feet up on the coffee table, brain shifting from busy day into sleepy night. Ah, the power of carbohydrates.

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Pasta with shredded zucchini
The shredded zucchini melts into the sauce, making this dish perfect for any silly zucchini-phobic family members.
  • 1/2 pound fusilli (or another curly, twisty pasta)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large or 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 medium-sized zucchini, shredded or grated
  • 2 cups tomato sauce (not chunky; canned or jarred works fine)
  • 2 Tbsp half-and-half
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan, Romano or Grana Padano cheese
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta as directed on the package.While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 30 seconds - don't let the garlic brown. Add the zucchini to the skillet and cook for a few minutes until softened but not mushy. Add the tomato sauce and half-and-half to the skillet, stir to combine, and turn down the heat. Let simmer while the pasta finishes cooking.When the pasta is done, drain it and add it to the skillet. Turn off the heat and gently mix the pasta into the sauce. Let the pasta sit about 30 seconds on the warm burner, then turn the pasta into a serving bowl. Season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle the grated cheese on top. Serve immediately.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 servings


Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I am having one of those long, tiring days at work and I think this pasta might be just what I need..

I also have everything I need in my pantry...


Lana @ Never Enough Thyme said...

You're so right, Erika, about the comfort of carbs. I've been a carb-a-holic all my life but now find that I need to limit them quite a bit. I like the balance you've created in this recipe between those lovely carbs and the better-for-you veggies. Great combination!

Monet said...

I may be having one of those nights...this looks so very good! And I love the thought of the shredded zucchini. I am enjoying this with a cup of coffee in hand and an egg sandwich by my side. I hope you have a cool and relaxing Thursday. We are trying to beat back this heat in Austin!

The Cilantropist said...

Oh I *completely* know what you mean. These days there are pasta nights often. Or cereal nights. Or scrambled egg nights. Yeah, those sorts of days. ;) Good to know I am not alone!

Jeanette said...

What a nice recipe to use all the zucchini that is in season. Love the way the shredded zucchini blends right in with the pasta - such an easy and delicious way to eat more zucchini and less pasta.

Marnely Rodriguez-Murray said...

Oh this looks perfect! Pasta night is one of my favorite nights!

Stacy (Little Blue Hen) said...

Mhmm. I often shred zucchini because it's the only way my husband will tolerate it (sigh). The veggie-to-noodle ratio is definitely one I keep in mind, too. Adding this to the arsenal of "zomg-must-eat-now" meals.

Mariko said...

I love that. Sometimes I'm not in the mood for chunks, but the shreds would work in so nicely. Thank you for the recipe!

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