Pasta with Smashed Zucchini Cream

Credits: 101 Cookbooks

Summertime is here! That means there will be BBQs, picnics, and iced drinks for days. But it also means there will suddenly be an insane amount of zucchini. Grocery stores will be practically giving it away, and if you have any friends with gardens, they will all but force you to take some. But a human being can only eat so much zucchini bread! If you’re sick of sweet baked zucchini recipes and are looking for something on the savory side, look no further. This recipe for Pasta with Smashed Zucchini Cream is a delicious way to use up all of your courgettes. Garlic, olive oil, and green summer veggies all come together on top of everybody’s favorite carb – pasta! This dish is as Instragramable as it is delicious and easy enough for even the most novice chefs. If you have a date to impress, this is the meal to prepare.

Another great thing about this recipe is how flexible it is. The instructions call for delightfully slender bucatini pasta, but any dried pasta you have in your pantry will work! Don’t have any pasta at all? No worries! The creamed zucchini can be spread on toast, used as a dip for some pita chips, or drizzled on top of eggs! The possibilities are truly endless.

Start by boiling the pasta in salted water. Don’t hold back on the salt! Keep pouring it in until the water tastes like the sea. You’ll thank us for this tip later when your noodles are perfectly seasoned and sticky enough to hold onto every drop of the sauce. While the pasta cooks, slice the zucchini and scoop out all the seeds and mushy bits in the middle. Leaving those in will make the sauce watery, and we’re going for creamy! Toss it in a pan with the olive oil and the garlic, and let things sizzle and get savory. Here’s another cooking tip for you; Once the veggies in the pan start to brown, pour a ladle full of the pasta water on top. The starch from the water will thicken the sauce, and the salt will season it perfectly. Do not skip this step!
Once everything’s cooked down and nice and soft, it’s time to mash! Use a potato masher, a fork, whatever smashing-tool you have handy to smoosh everything together. Don’t neglect the tasty brown bits from the bottom of the pan! You will surely regret it later without their crispy crunchiness.

Now comes the real MVP of this recipe, the grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese. Do not hold back with this! The recipe calls for a cup and a half, which may seem like a lot, but trust us that it’s worth it! Mix the cheese, chopped basil, and zucchini cream and then dump the whole beautiful mess over the pasta. Scoop individual servings into bowls, and sprinkle some chopped almonds on top. Not only will these make the dish look straight out of a professional Italian kitchen, but they will also add a nutty crunch that brings everything together. Top each with even more cheese, serve and accept your applause!

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