As we look forward to summer, having zucchini and summer squash available at farm markets and within our own gardens, the squash is available year-round at the grocer. Zucchini has a mild flavor and is very adaptive to numerous cooking methods. This versatile squash can be served raw in a salad; or sautéed, roasted or fried for a number of savory side dishes. Shredded zucchini can be added to cake, bread and muffin batter creating a moist tender crumb. I have fond memories of the first time I made zucchini bread as a young baker, seeing the little green flecks of zucchini wrapped inside the sweet bread. A few years later I learned that adding mini chocolate chips to the batter made it even more delicious.
There is a bit of a "zoodle" craze going on that carves zucchini and squash into faux pasta noodles. Looks intriguing, but I have yet to invest in a zoodle-maker. Instead, I make zucchini ribbons by using a vegetable peeler, shaving down the length of the squash to form beautiful strips that look like colorful ribbons.
The recipe included below combines eggy pappardelle pasta noodles with the shaved vegetable ribbons, garnished with more ribbons of fresh basil and parmesan cheese. This recipe pleases a wide variety of palettes from true veggie-lovers to those who only tolerate vegetables.
Pasta and Zucchini Ribbons with Parmesan
4 medium zucchini, green and yellow variety
4 small carrots
1 cup red onion, sliced vertically
2 cloves garlic
6-8 ounces dry pappardelle pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh basil sliced into ribbons
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese curls
Cook the dry pappardelle noodles according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
Using a vegetable peeler, shave the zucchini squash and carrots into ribbons. Slice the red onion into thin vertical slices. Chop the garlic.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the onion and the carrot, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir frequently, cooking for about 4 minutes until the onion is tender. Add in the remaining zucchini squash and garlic, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine with the onions and carrots, cooking until all vegetables are tender. Remove from heat.
Add the cooked pasta to the vegetables along with 2 tablespoons of butter, remaining salt and black pepper; gently stir to combine. Transfer the pasta and ribbon vegetables to serving platter. Garnish with ribbons of basil and Parmesan cheese curls. Serve warm or room temperature.
Shown below is ribbon pasta with seared salmon but can also accompany grilled chicken, or stand-alone as a vegetarian dinner.