My reason for cooking this was simple -- I had the handful of items it required on hand. And I should say right now that with recipes that have so few ingredients -- six, in this case -- the quality of said ingredients is paramount. I had the best of the best -- local zucchini bought a few days ago at a farmers' market, top notch dried pasta, herbs snipped from my balcony pots, and Monforte goat cheese -- and the dish was all the better for it.
If you're like me, and your primary culinary use for zucchini thus far has been zucchini bread -- which I never turn my nose up at, btw! -- give this simple summery pasta dish a try. I made a couple of additions -- bumped up the amount of garlic to two cloves, and spritzed fresh lemon juice on at the end -- but feel free to take or leave those changes. I also used rotini -- but in my mind all those short pastas are interchangeable. Use what you've got.
Penne With Herbed Zucchini And Goat Cheese
Gourmet | July 1997
6 ounces penne or other tubular pasta
3 medium zucchini
1 large garlic clove
2 teaspoons mixed fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, and marjoram leaves
2 ounces (1/4 cup) soft mild goat cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
Fill a 4-quart kettle three-fourths full with salted water and bring water to a boil for pasta.
Halve zucchini lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Thinly slice garlic lengthwise and finely chop herbs. Crumble goat cheese.
In a heavy skillet heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and sauté zucchini, stirring, until browned and just tender. Stir in garlic and herbs and sauté, stirring, 1 minute.
Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente and reserve 1 cup cooking water. Drain pasta in a colander and in a bowl toss with zucchini mixture, cheese, 1/4 cup reserved cooking water, and salt and pepper to taste, adding additional reserved cooking water if necessary.Serves 2.