I didn't post last week, as I haven't been cooking much recently. Lots of fun travel and weekends away have kept me out of the kitchen. My friends and I spent Memorial Day weekend on Hilton Head and last weekend I was in Charleston. While on the beach, I read Stanley Tucci's book Taste: My Life Through Food. Tucci's book is essentially a love letter to the recipes and dishes that mark his life. He shares a recipe for Spaghetti con Zucchine alla Nerano, a deliciously fresh pasta with a shockingly small number of ingredients. I love zucchini and couldn't wait to try this. When I got home from the beach, my mom and I whipped up a batch of this and enjoyed every bite.
We started with an Aperol spritzer, my summer cocktail of choice. I love how the slight bitterness of the Aperitivo pairs with Prosecco. Refreshing and easy to make, spritzers are great for entertaining. There's currently an Aperol shortage, but I found some at Corks & Caps in Atlanta.
Get the Recipe: Barefoot Contessa Aperol Spritzer
Spaghetti is tossed with fried zucchini, pasta water, fresh basil, and parmesan, resulting in a creamy and satisfying dish. Tucci's recipe calls for 1 quart of oil, which seemed like too much to me. I instead pan-seared the zucchini. The fried zucchini is salty and satisfying. I have never had zucchini and basil together, but I'm now obsessed with this flavor combo. This pasta is a great weeknight dinner option, as you can fry the zucchini ahead of time, so the pasta can come together quite quickly.
Spaghetti con Zucchine alla Nerano
From Stanley Tucci’s Taste: My Life Through Food
Vegetable or sunflower oil (or, if you choose, olive oil) to fill your sauté pan about an inch deep
8-10 small zucchine, sliced into thin rounds
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh basil
Sea salt, to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound spaghetti
3 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Pour oil into a large saute pan, about 1-inch deep and heat over medium-high heat. Fry the zucchine in the oil until golden brown. (About 3 minutes on one side, then flip and continue frying for another 2 minutes.) I fried the zucchini in three batches. Remove and set aside on paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with basil and salt, to taste. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle liberally with olive oil.
Boil the pasta until al dente and strain, reserving about 2 cups of the pasta water. Place the cooked pasta in a large pan or pot over low heat and gently combine with the zucchine mixture. Add the pasta water, a little at a time, to create a creamy texture. (You may not need to use all the pasta water.) Add some of the Parmigiano to the mixture and combine by stirring gently and tossing. When the mixture has a slight creaminess, remove from the stove and serve immediately.
Cook’s Note: the zucchine mixture can be refrigerated for about 5 days for use at a later date. Best to bring it to room temperature before serving.
I'm drooling. I'm going to make this recipe again this week.
a fabulous beach read
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Peony season is the best. I snatched these gorgeous peonies up the second Trader Joe's got them in.
Thanks for reading!