Saturday, July 7, 2007

Pasta with zucchini, fresh tomato and fresh mint

Just in time for the weekend, here is an inexpensive, healthy, low-calorie and seasonal dish. It can be served warm or cold, as a pasta salad. I will do my best for the rest of the summer to post hot-weather, seasonal recipes on Thursday or Friday, giving you time to buy ingredients.

Now. For four persons. Take six small zucchini (you should always avoid large zucchini). Two-three flavorful tomatoes. Obtain fresh mint. Dice your zucchini, rather finely. Dice your tomatoes, getting rid of overly conspicuous seeds. Boil short pasta (bowties, fusilli, penne) until cooked al dente. You know of course that your pasta should only be of durum wheat.

If making pasta salad, promptly rinse your pasta in the colander (this is the only time you should rinse pasta). Remove to a largish bowl, coat with several tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil (Bertolli is always a good 'un). Zap zucchini in the microwave until translucent. Add newly translucent zucchini to pasta, add tomatoes, salt and (preferably) freshly ground pepper. Add leaves of fresh mint to pasta. Mix, and allow to sit for an hour or two. What this means is that this a good dish to prepare in the early morning when it's not so hot, to be enjoyed later. In the highly regrettable absence of fresh mint, you may use fresh basil in tiny little pieces. You may also add fresh mozzarella to get your protein.

If you are making this as a warm dish, do not rinse pasta. Saute' the diced zucchini in two TBP of EVOO in which a fresh clove of garlic has been lightly sauted. Season the zucchini. Add pasta to zucchini pan, mix, add tomatoes, mix, add a bit more EVOO. Add mint, continue cooking for two-three minutes. Remove promptly from heat, add freshly grated Parmigiano or even better, Pecorino. Adjust seasoning. This may also be served cold.