Monday, July 9, 2012

Angel Hair Pasta with Bread Crumbs and Zucchini

Lately, I've been a little uninspired in my cooking. I'll blame it on the heat: it makes me lazy and not want to put effort into something that will most likely require me to work in my kitchen, which is one thousand times hotter than my living room, where I like to lounge 2 feet away from the fan. As it was that time again to create a grocery list, I pulled out my cookbooks to find something to make for the week. This dish didn't grab me from the get-go. The ingredients were too simple and I imagined it to be flavourless. And bread crumbs on pasta?? Who does that? Add carbs to more carbs with no sauce? It made no sense to me.

However, it stated that this made for a nice and light summery dish that is easily paired with a salad. I chose to make a Beet, Bean and Feta cheese salad to accompany it (not seen here). I wouldn't have to buy many ingredients for it, and I do like zucchini quite a bit. So I gave it a shot! And was pleasantly surprised! Simple and light, just as the cookbook suggested, it is a satisfying dish for a hot summer evening. I made a couple adjustments to add some more flavour, and if you are more health conscious than me, you can sub in whole wheat noodles... although I'm not sure they have whole wheat angels hair. I couldn't even find angels hair and settled for spaghettini noodles.

Yield: 4-6 servings
2 slices whole wheat bread
10 to 12 ounces angel hair pasta
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4 small green and/or yellow zucchini, sliced in 2-inch lengths
1/4 cup dry white wine, vegetable stock, or water
salt and pepper to taste
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
lemon wedges, for serving

Pulse the bread in a mini food processor until they become fine crumbs. In the meantime, start a large pot of water boiling for the pasta.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wide pan, and add the bread crumbs. Cook over medium-high heat until they turn toasty brown and are crisp. Set aside. At this time, add the pasta to the boiling water and leave in until cooked to al dente.

Heat the remaining oil over low heat in the same pan used for the bread crumbs. Crush the garlic with the back of a wide knife, and add to the hot pan. Saute the garlic for a couple minutes, until golden brown. Stir in the zucchini and wine/stock and season with salt and pepper (you will need a fair amount of salt, as zucchini and pasta are bland on their own). Raise the heat to medium and cook until the zucchini is tender crisp, about 4-5 minutes. When done, remove the garlic cloves.

Combine the pasta and zucchini in a large bowl. Top with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese, and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Serve while hot.

Source: slightly adapted from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook

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