5.18.10 § 10 Comments
I’ve been in a weird mood lately. Mostly, I’ve been feeling uninspired in the kitchen. Last Thursday, I spent about an hour and a half looking for a recipe I wanted to cook for dinner. It was my first night that week with enough free time to cook and although I was stoked about it, I ended up going to the grocery store (sans recipe), wandering around for 20 minutes hoping to see something that would spark my imagination, and finally walking out empty-handed. I dined on cheese and crackers.
Frustratingly, my apathetic attitude persisted on Friday, even though a friend was coming over. I finally mustered up enough enthusiasm to throw together a vegetarian version of my go-to hoisin stir fry, which was good enough I guess, but I was seriously starting to wonder what was wrong with me.
After another dinner of cheese and crackers on Saturday, I decided that enough was enough—lack of inspiration be damned, I was going to cook something on Sunday. Something good.
I took a deep breath and cracked open my copy of The Silver Spoon. If you haven’t heard of this cookbook, you should know that it’s considered by many to be the Bible of Italian cooking. I hate to admit that although I’ve had this book for almost a year, I’ve never used it. It’s so big and daunting that I’ve been afraid. Until now. I figured I should probably break out the big guns to combat my cooking apathy.
I flipped through the tome, considering various recipes, including one for sautéed dandelion greens that I may have to revisit. Finally, I settled on a recipe for zucchini spaghetti or spaghetti con zucchini (I know the name isn’t very exciting, but I thought I’d include it anyway, just to be extra legit).
I haven’t made many pastas that don’t have any actual sauce (if you’ve been reading, you know when I crave pasta it’s usually because of the sauce), but I thought I’d give it a try.
After prepping your ingredients, you heat the oil, sautéing a whole onion with some crushed garlic, celery and fresh sage. Next, you add the zucchini and tomato, bringing the mixture to a simmer before covering and cooking for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, you boil the spaghetti in salted water until al dente.
When 15 minutes is up, you remove the sage, celery, and onion from the zucchini mixture. While the recipe said to remove the garlic as well, I left it in because I figure you can never really go wrong with having garlic in pasta.
Finally, you combine the vegetables with the hot pasta, throw in the mozzarella you’ve diced, and then cover it all with a generous amount of parmesan. Yes, you read that right, two types of cheese. I know, I know…but trust me.
Unfortunately, I didn’t think far enough in advance to stop at my local cheese shop and get really good cheeses. However, this was so good with mediocre cheese that I’m definitely going to make it again with better cheese…mmm, cheeeeeese. Sorry, I’m easily distracted.
This spaghetti left me fully satisfied and hopefully, it also put an end to my cooking apathy. Last night I attempted to make pad thai—it was pretty much an epic fail, but I’m still proud of myself for cooking two nights in a row. I won’t be posting about the pad thai, but I am attending a pretty exciting event tonight and I’m sure there will be stories to share…
adapted from The Silver Spoon
2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
3 plum tomatoes, cored and chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 fresh sage leaves
2 ribs celery
1 whole onion, peeled
1 cup fresh mozzarella, diced
generous amounts of freshly grated parmesan
spaghetti (I used about 3/4 of a box)
Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet. (Make sure you are using a skillet or pot that has a lid because you’ll have to cover it later! I had to switch my stuff to a different pan thingy halfway through because the first one didn’t have a lid.) Add whole onion, garlic, celery and sage. Cook for five minutes or so.
Add the zucchini and tomato to the skillet. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, boil the spaghetti in salted water until al dente.
When the vegetables are done, remove the celery, onion and sage. Toss the zucchini mixture with the hot spaghetti and add the mozzarella. Put the pasta into bowls and cover with generous amounts of parmesan. Enjoy!