Monday, January 21, 2008

Cute Love (Tagliatelle with baby zucchini, lemon and basil)

I have a penchant for cute things. In fact, a high school teacher of mine once signed my yearbook with: "I will always remember you as the girl with the cute pencils, cute pencil cases, and cute boys." (I apologize if you just gagged)

You'd think I'd have outgrown all the "cuteness" by now, but during a recent visit to Trader Joe's, I discovered the latest cute thing...

Baby zucchini! Yes, that's right. They are even smaller than my hand. I was drooling over how cute they were (with Husband rolling his eyes) so I bought them without knowing how I was going to cook with them. Honestly, I don't even know what they are really called...Baby zucchini? Miniature zucchini? Dwarf zucchini? Smurf food? If you know, please enlighten me.

The zucchinis sort of just sat in the fridge for awhile. They brought a smile to my face whenever I opened the vegetable drawer, but I just didn't know when or how to use them. Similar to buying a sexy new dress that sort of just sits in the closet (I'm primarily addressing the female audience with this example)--especially if you're actually a jean and sweats person, like me.

After nearly a week, I decided enough was enough and I would cook them or else waste the $3.99 it cost me to buy the pack of zucchinis. So I searched the net and found this Jamie Oliver recipe:

Tagliatelle with baby zucchini, lemon and basil

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8-10 very small, very firm zucchini, sliced on the diagonal
Juice of 1 lemon
A good handful of fresh basil, picked
450 g fresh tagliatelle
salt and freshly ground black pepper
100 g parmesan, grated

Put the olive oil and the garlic into a semi-hot, thick bottomed pan and fry for about 30 seconds without colouring, then add the zucchinis and toss gently. After about 2 minutes, add the lemon juice and the basil and cook a little longer.

Meanwhile, cook the tagliatelle in salted boiling water, then drain. Toss it with the zucchini to mix the flavours, season to taste, and add the parmesan. Serve with some torn basil and a sprinkling of extra parmesan.

Serves 4.

The result? Not bad. I don't think there was enough zucchini for the amount of pasta though, perhaps the zucchinis I purchased were even smaller than "baby" size? Who knows. I would actually have doubled the amount of baby zucchinis (I used 10) but then again, I'm a veggie lover and would have appreciated at least a slice of zucchini in each bite (with this recipe, I had maybe a teeny piece of zucchini for every two bites).

I definitely cooked the zucchini too long, or should have used a lower heat (I used medium-low). Not all recipes are meant to be followed exactly! I would also have used a little more lemon juice (I couldn't really taste it). Also, don't let the amount of basil scare you--it shrinks quickly!


BTW, here's a cool recipe contest to enter! For a chance to win a $35 gift card to Crate and Barrel (!!!), all you have to do is post about this contest:

Jenni's Kitchen Recipe Contest Giveaway

And to double your chance of winning, all you have to do is pick a recipe, make it and blog about it. How easy is that?! (I mean c'mon, we do that anyway). I can't believe only like four people have entered. What are you waiting for?!


Jo Boston said...

Hey Jen! Foreign Cinema is coming! Thanks for the comments! Cooking Mama is so awesome. It made me smile when I found that someone (who is of adult age) plays it too. Hahaha! I thought I was the only one! TC!

Loren said...

Perhaps you can find a way to pair baby cauliflower with the baby zucchini in this dish...

tigerfish said...

Oh Trader Joes Trader Joes...I remember seeing baby kiwis there too. Another cute one! :D

urban vegan said...

They are cute...I love mama zucchini, papa zucchini and baby zucchini!

figtree said...

I also just purchased baby zucchini. I tossed them with olive oil, got them slightly brown, salt, pepper and...a little bit of chopped mint right out of my garden. DELISH. Figtreeappetizer