Tag Archives: zucchini

Crying 101: Fried-Zucchini Spaghetti

A dear friend who is in quite a life transition recently confessed to me, “I’ve been crying a lot lately.”

When I didn’t respond (I was too busy thinking my own self-absorbed thoughts about my lack of crying and what that must mean about me as a person (more on that later)), she continued, “As in every day. But I think that must be good because it means I’m really feeling my feelings.”

As a general rule, I’m not a crier. Some women are delicate and endearing when they cry. I am not. Snot drips, eyes become bloodshot, and my chronic hiccup syndrome kicks in with full force. As such, I’ve employed a categorical strategy of not crying. Preferably ever. But when I got off the phone…driving home from the barn…I found myself thinking panicked thoughts: “What if I’m not really feeling my feelings! What if I just think I am! What if I’m so busy going this way, and coordinating that, strategizing this, and tasking that I’m missing something important or keeping important emotions at bay?!?”

So I did what any overbearing, type-A, hideous overachiever would do. I put on some sappy Pandora station, rolled down my windows, and waited for the tidal wave to come.

I got nothing. Maybe a little bubble or welling perhaps? But if I’m being honest….Nothing. Nada. Zip.

So I did the next best thing I could think of. I came home, hosed myself off (Matt has assured me that while I enjoy the smell of horses, and barn, and sweat, and manure, he does not), and got cooking. While I never got to the cathartic cry I was perhaps seeking, I did find myself taking the first deep breath of the day, and really being.

These pictures are garbage and don’t do this dish justice, but trust me…it is freaking DELICIOUS. And an excellent way to use up all that zucchini that all your friends keep trying to offload on you because their garden is going crazy.

This is undeniably a Food & Wine recipe, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Fried-Zucchini Spaghetti

Serves 4

1 pound small zucchini, very thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound spaghetti
1 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
1/2 cup torn basil leaves
Freshly ground pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving
  1. In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with the flour and a pinch of salt. In a very large skillet, heat half of the oil until shimmering. Add half of the zucchini and fry over high heat, turning once or twice, until browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the zucchini to a paper towel–lined wire rack and season with salt. Repeat with the remaining oil and zucchini.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Return the pasta to the pot and toss with the 1 cup of cheese, the basil and a generous pinch of pepper. Add the reserved pasta water a little at a time, tossing well to coat. Transfer the pasta to a bowl and top with the crispy zucchini. Serve right away with lemon wedges and additional cheese.
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Filed under Cheap Eats, Pasta, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

I dream of pizza: Zucchini Pizza with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Olive Tapenade that is…

I work with a tremendously impressive group of people who I know for a fact regularly stay up thinking about how to improve the human condition. They think about how to eradicate polio, how to improve the education system in America, and how to ensure that the poor in developing countries have access to the financial services they need to get ahead. The most interesting fact about these people, is that they’re actually doing it. They actually are finding ways to get vaccines to the people who need them most, developing ways to measure teacher effectiveness, and designing mobile banking programs that are helping people put their kids through school. They actually are making a difference. Which is incredible…and very humbling.

As for me when tossing and turning late at night? I dream of pizza.

This morning, while laying awake having been woken up by both dogs who were now promptly snoring away, I couldn’t fall back asleep. At 4a I began thinking about what to make for dinner tonight. Doing a mental checklist of what was in my fridge, I came up with the perfect idea. Grilled pizza with an olive tapenade base topped with grilled zucchini, buffalo mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, and homegrown basil.

This one may not save the world…but it certainly will make it more enjoyable in the meantime.

Make this when your garden is exploding with zucchini and you don’t know what to do with it. The smokiness from grilling it makes it much more complex and paired with the mozz/basil/tomato/olive combination is quite delicious.

Zucchini Pizza with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Olive Tapenade

Serves 4. Pair with a moderate red wine such as a Moltepulciano

1 pizza dough, store-bought is fine. I like Trader Joes

6 ounces red pitted olives

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil + 3 TB

1 garlic clove

Salt and Pepper

1 large zucchini (about 1 – 1.5 lbs)

1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, thinly sliced

1/2 cup packed fresh basil, coarsely chopped

Tapenade -Add the olives, garlic, and lemon juice to a food processor, and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of olive oil in a steady stream while pureeing the mixture, and continue until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Zucchini – Thinly slice the zucchini lengthwise, with a mandolin if you have it. You want pieces to be fairly thin. Brush with remaining 3  TB of olive oil, and sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper. Grill the zucchini over high heat for about 5 minutes or until tender and slightly charred. Set aside.

Zucchini, Tomatoes, Mozzarella, Basil

Zucchini, Tomatoes, Mozzarella, Basil

Pizza Dough – On a floured surface, stretch out the pizza dough to about a 10-12 inch circle. If you like, you can divide the dough before spreading it and make two smaller pizzas which will render it easier to manage on the grill. Brush one side with the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes. Add the dough to the grill, oil side down, and cook over high heat with the lid closed until dough has set and is beginning to bubble. Note: You’ll want the grill quite hot when you add it so that it immediately starts puffing up versus falling through the grates. Once the first side is crisp and golden, add remaining sun-dried tomato oil to top side (the un-cooked side) and flip over. Cook 2-3 minutes, just until firm enough you can pull it off the grill.

Assembly – Spread the tapenade on the pizza (the side you cooked first). Layer with the grilled zucchini, mozzarella slices, and sun-dried tomatoes. Return to grill and cook another 5-7 minutes or until dough is completely set and cheese is bubbling. Allow to cool 3-5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with fresh basil.

With toppings, before being returned to the grill

With toppings, before being returned to the grill

Voila

Voila

Note: You’ll see in these admittedly mediocre pix that I did fresh tomatoes the first time I tried this. They over-powered the smokiness of the zucchini, so I made it again with sun-dried which I think were much more successful.

The postings on this site are my own and do not represent the positions, strategies or opinions of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

 

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Filed under Vegetarian