We've all had those post-farmers'-market moments when, while unloading your goodies, you remember that you actually bought three pounds of zucchini in an optimistic moment and now what the heck are you going to do with it? Well, this is what.
Think of this as a lemon-garlic salad dressing tossed with pasta, vegetables and cheese. The only stove time needed is to heat the pasta water.
When cooking pasta ahead for a crowd, substitute stubby, sturdy pasta (like penne, bow ties, fusilli, shells, etc.) for long string pasta, which are are much harder to handle in the reheating.
Cook the pasta a little over half way, drain, rinse with cold water, drain well again and toss with a little olive oil to keep it from sticking.
Cover and chill overnight. Have the sauce ready to go. To revive the pasta, finish cooking it in boiling water.
Cook to Cook: The concept behind this recipe translates into any season. Think peas and asparagus cooked in the pasta water in spring, and broccoli, greens, cauliflower or butternut squash in the winter.
6 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 3 large lemons)
1 fresh chile, seeded or not, and minced, or ground chile to taste (Aleppo is a one we like, and for fresh sting, a small Thai chile)
2 to 3 anchovy filets, rinsed (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 quarts of boiling salted water in an 8-quart pot
1 pound pasta (fettuccini, tagliatelle, linguine, penne, bow ties, or fusilli)
1-1/2 pounds zucchini (5 medium), cut into 1/4-inch by 2-inch sticks
The Finishing Seasonings:
1/3 tight-packed cup fresh basil leaves, torn
1/4 to 1/3 tight-packed cup fresh mint leaves, torn
1 tight-packed tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, torn
1/2 cup black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
3 to 4 tablespoons good tasting extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup whole toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded medium-aged sheep cheese or Italian or American Asiago
1. In a large serving bowl, combine the garlic, onion, lemon juice, chile, salt, and pepper to taste, and anchovy, if using. Marinate about 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, prep the rest of the ingredients. Drop the pasta into the boiling water. Add the zucchini 4 minutes before the pasta is done (check the box for timing). Once the pasta is tender but still has a little bite (al dente), scoop up 1/2 cup pasta water and set aside. Immediately drain the pasta and zucchini in a colander.
3. Stir 1/2 cup of the hot pasta water into the lemon juice mixture along with the herbs, olives and olive oil. Add the drained pasta, the final seasonings and toss to combine. Taste for salt and pepper (be generous with the black pepper). Serve hot.
Work Night Encore:
Farmer’s Market Pasta Omelet: This is one way our frugal Italian ancestors turned leftover pasta into family supper.
Have the oven at 350ºF. Beat together 1 to 2 eggs per person you are serving. Add a little salt and pepper, and fresh herbs if you’d like. Heat the noodles with a little hot olive oil in a non-stick 10-inch skillet with an ovenproof handle. Pour the eggs over them, stir a little to combine and slip the pan into the oven. Bake 15 minutes, or until the eggs are firm and cooked at the center of the noodles. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, cut into wedges and serve.
Reprinted from The Splendid Table's How to Eat Weekends: New Recipes, Stories & Opinions from Public Radio's Award-Winning Food Show (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2011).
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