Every year, there's a zucchini problem, and it goes something like this: Too many zucchini, not enough ideas.
Oh, sure, you can avoid them. That is, if you're not a gardener who planted them, or a market shopper who was seduced by the stacks of green.
As a vegetarian dedicated to seasonal eating, I usually eat my fill for as long as they're around, and even miss them when they're gone. Well, maybe a few months after they're gone.
Until then, here's another idea for cooking them simply: You coarsely grate the zucchini, cook it with onion and garlic, brighten the lot with lemon juice, and toss it with pappardelle pasta and pine nuts. The zucchini almost disappears (a boon if you - or your dinner guests - aren't a fan), and the dish tastes summery and fresh. Best of all, you've dispatched another couple zucchini in the process.
Zucchini and Lemon Pappardelle With Pine Nuts (Serves 4)
Toast the pine nuts in a small, dry skillet over a medium heat until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes, shaking the pan a few times to avoid scorching. Let cool completely before serving or storing.
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed
8 ounces dried pappardelle
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 medium zucchini (12 ounces total), trimmed and coarsely grated
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Handful fresh basil leaves
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.
Add the pappardelle and cook according to the package directions, until al dente, then drain.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in the onion and garlic; cook until the onion starts to soften, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the zucchini and increase the heat to medium; cook, stirring frequently, until the zucchini is tender but not mushy, 4 to 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, the 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the pepper.
Toss the cooked pappardelle into the pan with the zucchini to coat evenly. Taste, and add more salt and pepper, as needed.
Transfer to a serving platter, drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and scatter the pine nuts and basil on top.
Adapted from 15 Minute Vegan: Fast, Modern Cooking by Katy Beskow (Quadrille, 2017). It retails for R308 on Loot.co.za. Click here to purchase
The Washington Post