So guess what, guys. For the first time ever, I’m remaking a recipe that’s already appeared on this blog. The SECOND recipe, in fact. That feels like some sort of milestone. It isn’t really quantifiable like a one year anniversary or a 100th post, but it still seems rather special. In the sense that I feel I’ve grown enough as a photographer and a writer to re-pay homage to a dish, because I believe I can do it more justice now. Or something like that. Anyway. Let’s talk about sauce. Made from zucchini!
If you clicked on that link above, you’ve discovered that this isn’t exactly the same recipe. The first time around, there was ricotta + lemon ravioli. So let’s just be clear, this post isn’t necessarily about a dish of pasta and sauce together. It is about both things as separate, awesome entities. I have eaten this sauce on bread. I’ve eaten with a spoon. Quite frankly, it doesn’t need all the fuss that comes with making ravioli. Sure, you can go the extra mile and it will be fantastic. But you can also throw it on top of a bowl of honest-to-goodness spaghetti. Or eat it right off your fingers. No matter what the vehicle of consumption, this sauce brings it. 100%.
I discovered this recipe many years ago, back in my early days of food blog reading. Some of you long-time readers may remember that I’ve mentioned dating an Italian guy ages ago, and that I became enamored with his extended family (perhaps more so than I was actually enamored with him) and their food-centric way of life: Sunday dinners. Holidays filled with insane amounts of food. That one time a nonna brought over an amazing spread of desserts for one of the younger brother’s birthdays, and I had to restrain myself from shoving a herd of children out of the way so I could get my hands on ALL the mini sfogliatelle. The Italian and I eventually parted ways, and I went through some serious food withdrawal. In an attempt to combat it, I began looking into Calabrian recipes (as Calabria was the region of Italy his family hailed from and visited every year). And that was how I found Rosetta’s blog. I read through every post like a crazy person. In my obsessive browsing, I happened upon her recipe for pasta con crema di zucchine.
I’ve always enjoyed the flavor of things like eggplant and zucchini, but the texture isn’t exactly my favorite. Turning the latter into a sauce totally solves that problem. This has become one of my favorite things to make when fall hits, as it’s a great way to use up larger zucchini, and it freezes very well. And most importantly, it’s absolutely delicious. It’s just herbs, vegetables, a bullion cube, and a wee bit of parmesan, and yet it somehow manages to taste decadent.
Now, about the pasta. I’ve been saving this particular box of einkorn spaghetti for something special and blog-worthy. You may have already heard of einkorn wheat as it has become quite popular recently, and for good reason. It’s an ancient form of non-hybridized wheat that’s rich in vitamins, minerals, and lots of other good stuff that makes it quite nutritious in comparison to other wheats, and sometimes easier to tolerate for those who struggle with eating gluten. I first read about einkorn wheat on Alanna’s blog, was super intrigued, and the folks at Jovial Foods were kind enough to to send me a sample package of pastas and wheat berries (which we will talk about another time). The taste of the pasta is really fantastic. It has that nice, nutty wholesome flavor of wheat flour without the dense heaviness that usually comes with it. (If you’d like to read more about einkorn, I highly recommend checking out the Jovial website and this super informative post of Shanna’s.)
Zucchini & Herb Sauce
(recipe from Cooking with Rosetta)
makes: around 2 cups of sauce (I think — since I always make large batches of this, my calculations may be a little skewed)
Note: I usually like my sauce to be smoother than what is pictured here. There were some still-tough bits from a slightly under-ripe portion of one of the zucchini I used, and I didn’t realize it until I’d already thrown everything in the food processor.
1 lb of zucchini, halved or quartered (depending on size) and cut into 1/4″ slices
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup of basil
1/2 cup of parsley
1 bullion cube (chicken or vegetable)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of parmesan
salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
Heat oil in a large heavy bottom sauce pan. Add garlic and onion and sautée until translucent. Add the zuchinni and herbs, then crumble the bullion cube over everything.
Reduce heat to low and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for approximately 20 minutes, or until zucchini are very soft and smush at the touch of a spoon.
Transfer contents of pan to your food processor or blender (or use an immersion blender) and purée until smooth. (There should be enough liquid for this to blend easily. If it does not, add a little water as needed.) Add parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
As I mentioned, this sauce freezes quite well. I let it cool, then transfer it to 1 quart ziploc bags and lay them flat to freeze.