January 13, 2008

Inspired by what's in the frige

Friday night, we went to our neighbor's house for dinner. It was fantastic, however, for Saturday we wanted to eat a bit "lighter" to offset the incredible (yet, high calorie) meal we ate the night before.

I had a few things left in the refrigerator from last weeks trip to the Farmer's Market that I wanted to use up before going again to replenish my stash. I didn't want to spend a lot of time on dinner either, so I picked up Rachel Ray's 365: No Repeats cookbook. I've made a few things from it when I first got the book, but had not been back to visit it again recently. I came across one of her "lighter" sounding dishes, Zucchini and Bow Ties and decided to give it a try.

This was a very simple dinner to make, which is no surprise considering it's from Rachel Ray. I would make some modifications to it next time, however. If you have ever made one of her recipes that is for 4 servings, you'll notice theres a pound of pasta in it... well, between the calories and the amount of food, that's way too much so I always cut it back to a 1/2 pound. I also, added some chopped shallots to the garlic in the pan since we like that flavor combination. While the finished dish was nice, it still lacked something. As I was putting away the leftovers, I decided to add about 2 teaspoons of lemon juice to it, and it really brightened the flavor of the dish. I am sure if I had any fresh basil left when I was making the dish that would have helped as well, but you use what you have some days, and next time I would make sure to add that as well. Overall, I would make it again, with some changes.

Zucchini and Bow Ties
Source: Rachel Ray, 365- No Repeats

Coarse salt
1 pound bow-tie pasta (used 1/2 pound)
1/4 cup EVOO (I used probably 2-3 tablepoons at most)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium shallots, chopped (my addition)
2 medium zucchini, cut into matchsticks (I would double this amount)
Coarse black pepper
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (I used about 1/2 cup)
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn or shredded - about 20 leaves
2 teaspoons lemon juice (my addition)
zest of 1 lemon (my addition)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Cook the bow ties al dente, with a bite. Heads up: You will need a couple of ladles of starchy cooking water.

Heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the EVOO and the garlic (and shallots). Cook for 2 minutes, then add the zucchini. Cook gently for 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add a couple of ladles of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta and add to the zucchini. Toss with cheese and turn off the heat. Toss for 2 minutes, until the liquids are absobed. (Add lemon juice at this point and toss.) Serve in shallow bowls, with lots of shredded basil on top.

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