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Monday, November 15, 2010

Zucchini Pistou

I saw this recipe during my first reading of July's Cooking Light.  My first reading of a food magazine is usually the day it arrives, flipping through during dinner that night, or as we are watching tv.  Which is then soon followed by my second reading of the same magazine of the previous month -- which involves tearing out pages and cutting out recipes.  I like to keep the latest month's magazines on our coffee table, so as soon as a new one arrives, the old one gets cut up for recipes to file away.   Sometimes a recipe looks so good that it will jump to the 'must be made' pile even while it's still in the magazine and not yet cut-out.  That happened with this recipe.  It looked delicious and we had an abundance of zucchini and basil from our CSA that week.  It was a great way to use up some zucchini and broke me free of my normal habit of sauteeing them in a bit of butter, garlic and oregano.  It definitely made it's way into the 'keeper' binder of recipes.  I did make a few changes.  I made the substitution I use in all pestos -- almonds instead of pine nuts.  I used a mix of zucchini and yellow summer squash.  And, I used fat free half and half instead of heavy cream since that is what we already had on hand. 

Zucchini Pistou
adapted from Cooking Light, July 2010

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups pasta and 1 tablespoon cheese)

4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 1/2 cups (1/4-inch-thick) slices small zucchini (about 3/4 pound)
1 cup packed basil leaves
1/2 cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
2 tablespoons almonds
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion 
1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
1/4 cup fat free half and half
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender and golden. Remove from pan; cool. 
  • Place 1/4 cup cooked zucchini, basil, 1/4 cup cheese, almonds, and garlic in a food processor; process until finely chopped. (Keep mixture in processor.)
  • Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 10 minutes or until golden. Return remaining cooked zucchini to pan. Remove from heat.
  • Combine 6 quarts water and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a large pot, and bring to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions. Drain in a sieve over a bowl, reserving 1/3 cup cooking liquid. Add pasta to vegetables.
  • With processor on, add reserved liquid to basil mixture; process until smooth. Add basil mixture to pasta. Add cream, remaining salt, and pepper; stir. Top with remaining cheese.

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