I was trying to think of ways to use up some zucchini when I came across an interesting technique in the latest Martha Stewart Living magazine. When adding zucchini to a pasta dish, you grate the zucchini rather than slice it into rounds before sautéing. I tried it out on this pasta with zucchini, walnuts and herbs and it worked really well.
You grate the zucchini on a box grater, then sauté it in a little olive oil with garlic and red pepper flakes. After 5 minutes, you add lemon juice and a little pasta water. Next add the fresh herbs and parmesan. It creates a fresh, light sauce that coats the pasta. Throw in some crunchy walnuts and you’re done. It’s easy, fast, fresh and uses up some zucchini – a perfect summer pasta dish.
A couple of notes:
As you’re waiting for the water to boil, go ahead and prep all your other ingredients. You want to have everything ready to go before you add the pasta to the water. This recipe comes together quickly – so having everything ready to go makes it easy – no rushing at the last moment to prep something you’ve forgotten about.
Grate the zucchini on a box grater using the large holes.
You need to cook the zucchini on medium high heat. You aren’t browning the zucchini, just cooking it so that some of the liquid, that the zucchini gives off, evaporates.
Since this is a simple sauce that uses some of the pasta water, you’ll want to add a veggie bouillon cube to the pasta water as the pasta cooks.
When adding cheese to pasta, always sprinkle half all over the pasta and stir before adding more. You don’t want the cheese to clump together – by sprinkling it a bit at a time it will coat all the pasta rather than clumping together.
I didn’t bother to toast the walnuts – I think they taste fine as is. It’s one less pan and step to deal with.
Recipe adapted from the 11/14 issue of Martha Stewart Living – Pasta with Zucchini, Mint and Percorino. I couldn’t link to the recipe because it wasn’t on line. So here’s another pasta with zucchini recipe from Martha Stewart Living.Print
Pasta with zucchini, walnuts and herbs
A quick and easy pasta dish that use grated zucchini, walnuts and fresh summer herbs.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 12 mins
- Total Time: 22 minutes
- Yield: 2 to 4
- 2 cups – 8 oz. pasta – I used a small rigatoni shape
- 1 veggie bouillon cube
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic put through a garlic press
- A dash of red pepper flakes – to taste
- 8 twists of black pepper from a pepper mill
- 2 medium zucchinis – grated on a box grater
- 1/2 of a lemon – juiced
- 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
- 3 tbs of minced herbs – I used parsley and basil
- 1 large handful of walnuts
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- As the water is coming to a boil, grate zucchini, peel and mince garlic, grate parmesan cheese, mince herbs.
- Add pasta to water with one bouillon cube. Cook according to package instructions.
- While pasta is cooking, add oil to a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and black pepper – sauté for 30 seconds – stirring so garlic does not burn.
- Add grated zucchini to the saute pan. Continue to cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
- Scoop up 1 cup of the pasta water and hold to the side.
- After cooking the zucchini for 5 minutes, add lemon juice and a few tbs of reserved pasta water to zucchini mixture. Give the zucchini a stir and continue to cook for 2 more minutes.
- Add herbs and sprinkle 1/4 cup of cheese onto zucchini mixture. Stir to combine.
- When ready, drain pasta and add to zucchini mixture. Stir to combine. Add walnuts and sprinkle remaining parmesan over the pasta and stir one last time. If the dish is really dry, add a tbs or so of reserved pasta water.
- Sprinkle with a little minced herbs and parmesan on top for before serving.