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Off the Shelf: Simple Zucchini Pasta

At the end of each chapter in Off the Shelf , there's a page of "Short Order" recipe ideas -- quick dishes that require brief cooking and just a few ingredients. This easy pasta dish takes just minutes to put together and is very satisfying.

I've given somewhat more flexible amounts for garlic, chilis, and zucchini than are listed in the book; use your own preference to determine how much of these ingredients you'd like to use. I've also added the suggestion to use dried red chilis. They add heat to the pasta without having to be seeded and chopped, which is a bonus if you're tired or in a hurry. I also recommend that you leave the pasta somewhat wet when you drain it; the extra water helps to make the dish moister.

A minor quibble: Hay's recipe states that the zucchini should be grated, but the photo of this dish clearly shows thin slices of zucchini. You can prepare it either way -- I used a mandoline to create thin slices, which looked much prettier than shreds.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

14 oz. fettucine, spaghetti, or linguine
2 Tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 small red or green chilis, seeded and finely chopped, OR 1/2 to 1 tsp dried crushed red chili flakes
3 or 4 medium zucchini, grated or thinly sliced
1 cup grated or shaved parmesan cheese
Cracked black pepper and coarse salt
Lemon wedges, optional

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, then drain, leaving some water on the strands.

In a sauté pan, cook the olive oil, chilis, and garlic over medium-high heat until fragrant. Add the zucchini and cook until softened and slightly brown, about 3 minutes. Toss this mixture with the pasta. Add black pepper and salt to taste. Top with parmesan cheese and drizzle with additional olive oil and lemon juice, if desired.



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