Monday, August 03, 2009

Zucchini Chronicles #1: Zucchini Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes

The bird kept getting bigger; we expected that as Biggie's breed is famous for its size. Biggie's feathers started to come in more and more beautiful, the black reflecting deep green and purple. You know how gasoline looks as it floats on the edges of a puddle in the asphalt? That is what Biggie's feathers were turning into. Just above his rump, feathers started coming in pointed and growing longer and longer. Wait. Hens don't have elaborately beautiful tails.

Hens do not have elaborately beautiful tails, but roosters do.

He never crowed. He didn't beat up the other chickens. He didn't have a tell-tale fighting claw. He didn't have a lot of things, but he did have certain parts. And, unfortunately, we can't have those chicken parts on our ranchito.

I called the rancher who sold me Biggie, explained that the pullet she sold me was no pullet, and she agreed to exchange him for a hen. So ECG and I drove out on Saturday to trade Biggie in. Biggie cried in the cage when I separated him from the girls he had grown up with, and in the car, ECG and I weren't much happier.

We said goodbye to Biggie and got a Buff Orpington hen in exchange. We drove home silently, the only thing we were happy about was a good meal when we got back.

We should have been more optimistic. The Buff Orpington, Blondie, laid an egg as soon as she made herself comfortable in the coop.

Goodbye Biggie, Hello Blondie Zucchini Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes
Most gardeners I know have plenty of zucchini this time of year, so I figured I'd do a short series of good recipes that make use of the most reliable of vegetables. This particular meal was delicious, and the zucchini strips get tangled luxuriously into the mess of pasta, carrying rich garlicky greenness. For the roasted tomatoes, I follow Orangette's now-famous roasted tomatoes recipe, one that I've enjoyed thoroughly for a few years now.

You will need:
1 pound spaghetti or other strand-shaped pasta
1 mature zucchini
1 clove garlic, smashed and minced
good olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup fresh ricotta
2 small-medium roasted tomatoes, still hot or reheated
4 ounces of fresh mozzarella, sliced
plenty of basil to tear and toss over the plate
a shower of freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

To make the pasta:
Put a pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta. Cook the pasta as required.

In the meantime, cut the zucchini lengthwise in half, and using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, cut it into long ribbons. Saute the zucchini and minced garlic in a large frying pan with a glug of good olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Cook just until the zucchini is supple and flavored through with the oil and garlic.

While the zucchini is cooking, stir the ricotta in a small bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and a shake of salt and freshly ground pepper.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain it, and dump it into the large pan in which you cooked the zucchini. Toss the zucchini and pasta together until well combined.

Divide the pasta into four servings. Scatter pieces of the mozzarella over the top of the hot pasta, and place five roasted tomato halves on each serving. Scoop a dollop of the seasoned ricotta in the center of each plate of pasta, and finally, give each plate a dusting of basil and Parmesan.


Amy said...

D'oh, what a surprise about the chicken!

The pasta sounds heavenly and looks even better. Thank you for recipe.

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen) said...

This looks delicious; Great use of summer's best.

Terry at Blue Kitchen said...

I love the saga of Biggie, Christina. Reminds me of having parakeets as a kid. Their sex only became apparent when they matured. And then it was only displayed in the color of the cere, the strip above the beak where their nostrils are. Regarding the pasta, we're big fans of zucchini, and this sounds like a noble use for it.

Jean Z. said...

Great recipe post. Sorry to hear about Biggie. It's always difficult to say good-bye to the animals. Good luck on your new hen.

Unknown said...

Sorry about Biggie...but happy about Blondie.

Delicious...I just canned some sauce.

Christina said...

AmyR: You're welcome. I had never cooked zucchini in ribbons like that before, and now I want to do it all the time. I think a pile of just sauteed zucchini ribbons as a side would be wonderful.

Meghan: Thanks.

Terry B.: Bird sexing is some crazy business, isn't it? Blondie, the new addition, has taken the role of top bird, and since there is no rooster, she clucks very loudly in the morning, pretending she's a rooster. It's nothing near a real rooster-crow, but it cracks me up. I'm glad to hear you're big fans of zucchini--there's more coming your way.

WHTTC: The new hen is adjusting quite well and seems to have inspired one of the other birds to start laying. Wootwoot!

Mel: I've been canning whole tomatoes for the last couple weeks, but no sauce. Do you have a favorite recipe for canned sauce?

AJK said...

Looks Heavenly!

used forklifts said...

The pasta looks good enough to eat. Great recipe! I've learned so much from your blog. thanks!