Zucchini here, zucchini there, I've got zucchini everywhere!! That seems to be the usual cry of gardeners each summer......well, except for this gardener. I remember one of the first spring seasons, after we had moved into the home we live in presently. I really wanted to have a garden even though, as I've mentioned before, this Italian hadn't grown up working in one of her own.....sad, but true!
So, after hearing my brother-in-law talk about this book he'd been reading on "square foot gardening", I decided to try it out myself. After all.....the amount of produce one can expect to harvest from this type of garden is really pretty amazing!
I read and read, planned and planned, had a small area tilled by a friend, set out my 12"x12" markers, bought seeds and some baby plants, and got ready to sow! I was very excited, thinking about all the wonderful vegetables my family would be eating all summer long...... grown, nurtured, and harvested with my own little hands!
Well, things don't always turn out the way we plan, and my little garden was no exception. It's hard to remember exactly what did come up (this was about 15-16 years ago), but I remember some tomatoes, and a few carrots and green beans, I think....maybe a few peppers. The rest is a bit of a blur.
Now, you notice, I didn't mention zucchini. Well, that's not because I didn't plant any! I planted 4 hills, I think. How many grew?? Zero!! That's right.....zero!! How humiliating! I mean....who can't grow zucchini?? (I later realized that the soil in my "garden" was definitely less than optimal for growing and, have since, decided to use raised beds.)
Well, although my story is a bit sad, there's a happy ending. Because, even if zucchini aren't growing in my garden, they're growing in someone's, and I can be pretty sure that some will end up on my doorstep, at some point during the season and, if not.......there's always the farmer's market or grocery store! Zucchini are just too good, not to eat!!
O.K.....this recipe is like spring on a plate! Zucchini with the bright taste of fresh lemon and lovely spring mint is a wonderful combination! Yes, it's a pasta dish, but it's light, not heavy, and a good shower of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano is the perfect addition!
Only a few simple ingredients and you have a delicious meal in no time!
Linguine with Zucchini, Lemon, and Mint (serves 4)
4 medium zucchini (about 1 1/2 #), scrubbed
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. lemon zest and 2 tblsp. fresh lemon juice
12 large, fresh mint leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound linguine, cooked to al dente
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
After you've trimmed the ends from the zucchini, cut them, slightly on the bias, into 1/4" rounds. Now, cut the rounds into thin matchsticks.
Mince the garlic, thinly slice the mint leaves, and grate the zest from the lemon.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the garlic. Saute over medium heat about 2 minutes, or until golden.
Now, add the zucchini and lemon zest. Cook over medium-high, stirring often, until tender and just starting to brown, around 8 minutes.
Stir in the lemon juice, mint, and salt and pepper, to taste. Cook another minute or so, stirring often, until the flavors are combined. Adjust the seasonings, if needed.
Toss the cooked linguine with the zucchini sauce and mix well. Now, just pour it out onto a serving platter and get ready to enjoy a fresh and light pasta dish! Don't forget to grate a good amount of Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top. Let it rain, friends.....Let it rain!!
For printable recipe, click here.
Original recipe from "The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook" by Jack Bishop