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Zucchini and Red Pepper Pasta
By Charlie Burke

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This time of year we hear many jokes about zucchini, but I think it is one of the
more versatile summer vegetables. Often, I’ll seed the squash and cut the firm
outer flesh into sticks which cook quickly and maintain their texture. Using this
technique and sautéing them with red pepper and garlic made a colorful dinner
pasta preserving the flavors of the fresh vegetables and of the pasta. It is
important to put the drained pasta into the sauté pan so that the olive oil can
coat the pasta.

Two servings:

2-3 small zucchini
½ sweet red pepper
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea or kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
½ cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
8 ounces imported Italian Durham wheat spaghetti

Slice zucchini lengthwise into ¼ inch thick pieces. Discard seedy center slices.
Cut remaining slices into ¼ inch strips and then cut strips into 3-4 inch length.
Seed and slice the pepper into ½ inch strips, then chop into half inch pieces.

Heat a sauté pan over medium – high heat and add olive oil. When oil
shimmers, add zucchini, pepper and garlic and cook, stirring until the pepper
and zucchini are just tender. Remove from heat.

Boil pasta in three quarts of salted water for 5-6 minutes or until cooked slightly
less than done. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water and drain pasta. Put sauté pan
over high heat and add pasta to vegetables. Toss pasta with the oil and
vegetables until coated, drizzling extra olive oil if needed and adding a small
amount of water if pasta is not moist. Season to taste with salt and pepper and
serve immediately with parmesan cheese.

This recipe from a simple sauté is an example of how great fresh seasonal
vegetables can be served with pasta for a great first course or as a light meal.

Consider other combinations like eggplant and onions or cherry tomatoes with
garlic and basil, and remember that less is more when it comes to saucing high
quality pasta.

About the author: An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the vice
president of the
New Hampshire Farmer's Market Association, president of the NH Farm
to Restaurant Connection and helps run the Sanbornton (NH) Farmers' Market.  Along
with his wife, Joanne, Charlie grows certified organic herbs, greens and berries at Weather
Hill Farm in Sanbornton, NH.  
The Heart of New England
Celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine ~ New Hampshire ~ Vermont
Zucchini and Red Pepper Pasta
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