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Jewish World Review
Creamy linguine with zucchini, garlic and capers provides flavor punch as well as verdant splashes of color
How to use those ubiquitous summer zucchini creatively is every cook's dilemma at this time of the year. The popular vegetable grows with abandon in home gardens, makes star appearances in all shapes and sizes at local farmers' markets, and is a perennial item at roadside farm stands.
Recently while flipping through the pages of a cookbook I had bought in France, I spotted a recipe that put this summer squash to inventive use.
Grated zucchini and minced garlic were sauteed in olive oil, then combined with capers and tossed with strands of linguine. In my version, a few red pepper flakes give the dish a hint of heat, while grated Parmesan and crumbled feta cheeses add creamy and salty accents. A handful of chopped basil, stirred in at the last moment, provides another flavor punch as well as verdant splashes of color.
Offered with a loaf of crusty peasant bread and a green salad, this dish would make a tempting and light main course for an alfresco meal with friends.
LINGUINE WITH ZUCCHINI, GARLIC AND CAPERS
SERVES 4 as a light main course or 6 as a side dish
- 2 pounds zucchini (about 6 medium zucchini)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup capers with some juice
- Kosher salt
- 12 to14 ounces fresh pasta such as linguine or spaghetti
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- 1/4 cup chopped basil plus some sprigs for garnish
|WE FEED YOUR SOUL, INTELLECT --- AND STOMACH|
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Set a large pot of water over high heat and once it comes to a boil, cover, and lower heat so water remains at a simmer.
Rinse and dry zucchini, then trim and discard ends. Cut zucchini in half through the middle, then grate each half using the largest grating surface of a hand grater. Grate until you have 4 cups and each zucchini has no more skin. Save center cores of zucchini for another use (Dice and use them in a summer vegetable soup.) Blot grated zucchini as dry as possible with paper towels.
Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. When skillet is hot, add garlic and pepper flakes and saute only a minute or less until garlic starts to take on color. If garlic starts to color immediately, remove pan from heat for a few seconds.
Add zucchini and cook and stir until softened but still bright green, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in capers. Taste and season with salt. Set aside in pan.
Remove lid from pot of water, raise heat, and bring to boil. Add linguine and 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt. Cook until pasta is al dente, according to package directions (usually 3 to 4 minutes for fresh). Drain pasta and return to pot in which it was cooked. Stir in Parmesan and feta. Parmesan will melt completely, but feta might not melt completely.
Add cooked zucchini mixture to pasta, and, using two forks, toss to blend. Stir in basil, then season with salt as needed. Serve mounded in 4 shallow bowls and garnish each serving with a basil sprig. Or use as a side dish and mound in a shallow serving bowl with a bouquet of basil in the center.
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© 2013, Betty Rosbottom Distributed by Tribune Media Services Inc.