July 2, 2010

Fusilli Pasta with Zucchini and Butter

Some people are pasta lovers. I have one friend who claims she eats pasta everyday. I never quite understood this love until I had The Pasta Dish while in Rome that changed my life. I had this divine dish in a restaurant with no menu - you eat whatever they bring out, so I'm not certain what the name of The Pasta Dish is. However, after researching online to find recipes to recreate it, I'm fairly certain it was Pasta con Cacio e Pepe. As soon as I master The Pasta Dish, I will share the recipe. The Pasta Dish is very simple - cheese and pepper provide all the magic. So after experiencing The Dish, I was a little more open to other simple pasta dishes.

This pasta dish fits the bill. The zucchini is browned until mushy (but in a good way), garlic, and browned butter coat the fusilli pasta (I used gemelli - somehow my grocery store didn't have any fusilli) along with fresh Parmesan and basil. A very simple dish with quiet elegance.

Fusilli Pasta with Zucchini and Butter
from Rachel Eats as adapted from the River Cafe via the Guardian
serves 4

1 medium-large zucchini
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and squashed with the back of a knife
4 Tbsp. soft butter
8 oz. fusilli
6 or 7 basil leaves torn into pieces (optional)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Wash and dry the zucchini, then cut them into 1/2-inch thick discs. Pat the discs dry.

Warm the oil in a frying pan which is large enough to accommodate all the discs in a single layer. Add the garlic to the oil and then, once the garlic is soft, add the zucchini. Season with coarse salt and stir until the zucchini are just beginning to turn golden brown.

Add half the butter, stir and reduce the heat. Continue cooking, adding ladleful of water to loosen the bits stuck to the pan. Stir and scrape until the zucchini are soft, creamy and starting to fall apart, which takes about 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining butter.

While the zucchini are simmering away cook the fusilli in boiling salted water, according to the packet instructions, until al dente. Drain, reserving a little of the cooking water. Stir this into the zucchini to loosen the sauce.

Add the fusilli to the sauce, add the ripped basil leaves if you wish and toss very well. Serve with the grated Parmesan.

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