When I was preparing this dish for lunch, I was already thinking how I would post the recipe on this blog. As a salad, I decided. Then, we had lunch, I finished my plate of this pasta and golden zucchini with feta cheese and realized that it was filling enough for a main course. It was delicious although Speedy would have wanted more lemon juice and basil (I’ve already denuded the basil plants in the garden and didn’t dare pick the very small leaves).
What inspired the dish? A rotini with cheesy zucchini that I found on The Daily Green while searching for zucchini recipes last night. What’s the sudden interest in zucchini? I’ve loved zucchini for a long time except that because zucchinis were imported, they were pretty pricey. Fortunately, zucchini is now locally grown and prices have dropped tremendously.
The last time we were in the supermarket, I bought zucchinis in three colors — dark green, light green and gold. Note that golden zucchini is pricier than its green counterparts not necessarily because of superior qualities but probably because golden zucchinis are only abundant during the summer months while green zucchinis can be grown all year long.
This recipe uses golden zucchini but you can always substitute green. If you prefer a meatless version, omit the salami.
- 2 cups cooked pasta (I used elbow macaroni but spirals and bowties would probably have better visual appeal)
- 2 cups thinly sliced zucchini
- 3 to 4 slices salami (or some other salty cured meat), cut into thin strips
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 generous splashes extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tomatoes chopped
- 12 to 15 sweet basil leaves thinly sliced (see how to make basil chiffonade)
- juice of half a lemon
- a dash of sugar
- salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- crumbled feta cheese
Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the salami and garlic and cook just until heated through. Add the zucchini slices, cook for a couple of minutes, tossing often, just until the zucchini slices soften a bit and turn semi-transparent.
Put the pasta and tomatoes in a bowl. Add the zucchini mixture. Toss. Add more extra virgin olive oil if the mixture appears too dry. Pour in the lemon juice. Season with salt, sugar and pepper. Toss. Taste. Adjust the seasonings, if needed. Add the basil leaves and toss a few more times.
To serve, divide the warm pasta, salami and golden zucchini salad among individual bowls. Crumble some feta cheese over the dish and serve at once.