Spaghettini Squared: Pasta with Olive Oil, Garlic, and Zucchini

From the Food Network

 

 

¾ lb whole-wheat dried spaghettini

3 T. coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves

¾ pound zucchini

2 T. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

½ c. extra-virgin olive oil

¼ c. Basil oil (or Lemon flavored olive oil)

2 T minced garlic

½ c. grated Parmesan + 2 T.

½ tsp red pepper flakes

 

 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt.  Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes.  While the water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks, cut the zucchini with the fine French-fry cutter on a mandoline.  If you do not have one, cut by hand into the longest, finest julienne you can manage.  Season with salt and pepper.  If your zucchini is very finely cut, it does not nerd to be cooked.  Otherwise, place in a colander, suspend over the pasta pot, cover the pot, and steam the zucchini until still slightly crunchy, about 2 minutes.

 

Heat ¼ c. of the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat until hot.  Add the garlic and sauté briefly, but do not brown.  Turn on the exhaust fan and add the red pepper flakes.  Quickly mix in the basil and parsley and remove from the heat.  When the pasta is al dente, drain through a colander, reserving about ½ c. of the pasta cooking water.   Pour the pasta into a warm serving bowl; add the zucchini, basil (or lemon) oil, the garlic mixture, and ½ c. of the cheese.  Toss well, adding cooking water as needed to make a smooth sauce.  Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper, as needed.  Grate about 2 T. Parmesan over the top and serve at once. (To make your own basil oil, check out this recipe on www.foodnetwork.com.)