It’s a good thing I’m not planning a beach or pool trip anytime soon, because I’ve been eating a lot of pasta for dinner lately. I’ve built up a repertoire of a few sauces that can be pulled together in about as much time as it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta, so it’s a good fallback on nights when I’m on campus later than usual or when I don’t feel like cooking whatever I had planned. Recipes like this one, which are easy to make, infinitely customizable, and use ingredients I already have on hand, are especially welcome.
I saw this recipe around 12 noon, when I was doing my habitual routine of surfing the internet instead of doing academic work, and by 6:30 it was on my dinner table with no extra trips to the grocery store. I had to sub fettucini for the spaghetti called for in the ingredients list, and cilantro and parsley instead of basil and mint, but the outcome was still delicious. The key is to give the zucchini, peas, and garlic only a brief saute before adding in the cooked pasta. And the feta cheese made a nice change from my usual Parmesan-topped pasta dishes. Dinner does not get much more summery than this.
Zucchini with peas and pasta
Adapted from Everybody Likes Sandwiches
- 2 ounces dried spaghetti, linguine, or fettucini
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 small zucchini, sliced thinly
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup peas, fresh or frozen
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp. each minced parsley and cilantro, or other combination of fresh herbs
- 1 oz. crumbled feta cheese
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a skillet and add red pepper flakes. Cook gently for about 30 seconds. Add the zucchini slices and cook, stirring occasionally, about 2-3 minutes. Add the peas and garlic and continue to cook gently. When the pasta is done cooking, drain it and add it to the skillet. Add the lemon juice and herbs and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir together until ingredients are combined and heated through. Crumble feta cheese over top and serve.
Yield: one generous serving.