Summer pasta is in a league of its own, light, fresh and barely any grease. I spent many years living in the Bay Area and travelling to Italy and wolfing down plates of delicious pasta of this style. None of the heavy greasy sauces, no fatty meats and most of all using the best produce the summer has to offer. This is one of those plates of pasta and a perfect antidote to the hot weather in Bangalore.
As I have said, this is a light pasta, barely cooked zucchini with a delicate crunch, loaded with tart flavours from the capers, lemons, and sun-dried tomatoes and packed with earthy herbs. It is refreshing and with a glass of white wine makes for the perfect meal.
Deborah Madison was one of the first chefs to embrace the farm-to-table movement when she opened her restaurant Greens, one I have dined at a few times. Her cookbooks are lovely, and this one, in particular, is amazing. Simple recipes that are loaded with flavour. Like me, you should get all her cookbooks, each is a masterpiece!
For more wonderful recipes from this cookbook, click here.
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts
6-8 shallots, thinly sliced
2 medium zucchini, cut into batons resembling matchsticks
4 tablespoons capers
3-4 sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, thinly sliced
1 cup herbs, a mix of fresh cilantro, parsley, basil, mint, and dried thyme, oregano, tarragon, marjoram or other.
Zest of 1 lemon or lime
Juice of 1 lime or lemon
Salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Parmesan cheese, grated for garnish
Basil, for garnish
10 oz. thin pasta, speghitini or taglierini, or thin fettuccini
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box minus 1 minute for "al dante".
heat the oil in a large pot and fry the pine nuts for 20 seconds. Add the shallots and turn the heat down to low. Sauté till the shallots are very soft but have not taken on any colour.
Add the zucchini, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon/lime zest, salt, and pepper and cook till the zucchini is just beginning to get soft. You want the zucchini to have still a bite resembling the al dante pasta.
Add the lemon/lime juice and taste for salt, tartness and adjust as needed.