Friday, August 23, 2013

Zucchini Pasta Salad

Zucchini is an underrated vegetable. I often ignore it for the sake of more glamorous vegetables: creamy butternut squash, crisp peppers, even makes-you-feel-like-you're-eating-little-trees broccoli. 

But when there are two sad looking zucchini wilting in your refrigerator, you can't really ignore them anymore. (Side note: is the plural of "zucchini" still "zucchini"? I think so...)

The key is cooking the zucchini without other show-stealing vegetables. If you cook zucchini with other veggies, especially carrots and the likes, the zucchini gets overcooked and unbearably mushy. Cook it alone, monitoring it carefully, and you get slightly crisp but still cooked through, far-from-boring zucchini. Add pasta, a diced tomato, and herbs, and you have a light meal.

The close-up. You can see the bits of garlic and basil that allow the zucchini to shine.

Zucchini Pasta Salad
Serves 3

-2 zucchini, diced

-6 oz whole wheat penne, cooked al dente

-1 plum tomato, diced

-1 tsp olive oil

-3 tsp balsamic vinegar

-1/2 tsp lemon juice

-salt and pepper

-1 clove garlic, minced

-handful of fresh basil, minced

-fresh mozzarella for serving

Saute the zucchini, garlic, and a little salt in the olive oil and cook covered for 6-8 minutes, checking every 2 minutes to prevent burning and overcooking.

Make the dressing of salt, pepper, balsamic, basil, and lemon juice.

Combine the zucchini mixture, tomatoes, pasta, and dressing. Serve with bits of fresh mozzarella if desired.

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