Pasta is one of my most favourite meals. While we were in Italy, I ate a lot of pasta dishes and found that the best ones were very simple with just just a few fresh ingredients. This recipe, from my current favourite cookbook My Father's Daughter by Gwyneth Paltrow, follows the simplicity of Italian cooking.
3/4 box spaghetti
3 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1/4 cup pasta water, to thin
Freshly ground black pepper
Handful fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
Toss the zucchini with the flour.
Boil the spaghetti in salted water until just al dente.
Heat 1/4 cup of olive in a large skillet over high heat and add as much zucchini as will fit in a single layer. Cook, stirring and flipping occasionally, until well browned and a little crispy, about 4 minutes. This is the most time-consuming part of this recipe. To speed up the process, I use two skillets.
Remove zucchini to a plate and sprinkle with salt. Repeat until you've cooked all zucchini.
Whisk the cheese together with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the pasta water, adding a bit more if necessary. You want the consistency to be creamy.
Drain the spaghetti and add to the bowl with the Parmesan mixture. Toss together, season with salt and pepper. Fold in two-thirds of the fried zucchini and all of the basil.
To serve, evenly distribute the rest of the zucchini on top with a couple of gratings of Parmesan.
(Photo via Smitten Kitchen)