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Pasta, zucchini, lemon, pine nuts, and herbs

Updated: Mar 22

Summer pasta is in a league of its own; it is light, fresh, and barely greased. I spent many years living in the Bay Area, 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 dish with barely cooked zucchini and a delicate crunch. It is 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, it 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 until just beginning to get soft. You still want the zucchini to bite like the al dante pasta.

Add the lemon/lime juice taste for salt and tartness and adjust as needed.

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