- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4-6 1x
- 8 small zucchini, thinly sliced- about 1/8 inch or less
- Olive oil for frying
- Salt to taste
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 pound mezza rigatoni (or spaghetti)
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- Divide the sliced zucchini in half.
- In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, with at least 1/4 inch of olive oil, fry half of the zucchini until golden brown. You may need to do this in two or more batches, but don’t be lazy; you want them crispy. Place on paper towels to drain, and keep warm. Lightly sprinkle with salt (and try not to eat them). In the same skillet, add the remaining olive oil and onion, and sauté until translucent. Add the remaining zucchini and sauté until softened, or lightly browned. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Cook the spaghetti until al dente (about 2 minutes less than the package directions), drain, and retain a cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the skillet with the zucchini and about half of the fried pieces, mix for 1 minute over a medium heat and add the retained pasta water to loosen the sauce.
- Serve, garnished with the remaining pieces of fried zucchini and grated Parmigiano.
Why is it that most people can pronounce the word “zucchini” with relative ease but can’t seem to manage a proper “bruschetta?” Believe me, this is not a mere tomato-tomahto, potato-potahto kind of thing; it’s just a flat-out, widespread mispronunciation. Such a beautiful word, so savagely butchered. But rather than dwell on this particular pet peeve of mine, let’s clear it up. In Italian, the letter combination “ch” is pronounced “k”. Therefore, if you can pronounce zucchini, you can pronounce bruschetta. Say it slowly and enjoy the melody. And the next time someone offers you “brushetta,” look them straight in the eye and say, “I’m not exactly sure what that is, but I’d love a good bruschetta.” Eventually, everyone will catch on.
Now let’s talk about zucchini and spaghetti. (And by the way, the “gh” in spaghetti is always pronounced that way.) Zucchini is a wildly popular summer vegetable in Italy, so as you can imagine, it gets a lot of play with all sorts of pasta. It can be fried, pureed, sautéed, and mixed with a variety of partners, ranging from other vegetables to pancetta to shrimp. I like it all ways, but sometimes I love it solo, when it’s the star of the show.