Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Seasonal success: Farfalle w/ zucchini and yogurt sauce

Are you like me where you're constantly tearing out new recipes out of various cooking mags you drag home with the best of intentions to make them right away? Then weeks...months?...later find this drawer or file folder stuffed with all this temptation? Yeah, me too. But last Monday, after a several hour drive home from our road trip escape and days of meals eaten out, I was in a home-cooked-meal frame of mind but didn't want to hassle with anything too involved. Plus, the cupboards were pretty bare, so I pulled out my overstuffed file folder to see if there might be something quick, easy, and hopefully pasta centric.

Turns out that a long time ago, maybe a year or two, I had torn this recipe out Food and Wine Magazine that seemed kind of crazy, but they swore it was delicious (we've all read that before, haven't we? Sometimes it is just that...crazy!). It was made with farfalle pasta with shredded zucchini that you boil with the pasta and a yogurt based sauce, which sounded strange but after reading through the recipe, sounded intriguingly delicious. So I took a quick trip to the store, and within 30 minutes we were sitting down to an awesome vegetarian (and you know how important that is to me...or not), surprisingly light, very seasonal pasta that I would make again in a heartbeat. It would make a great first course before a grilled spring lamb dinner, but by itself it rocked it. Plus the leftovers for lunch yesterday were pretty fab, too. The only change I made to the original recipe was adding the lemon juice, which I felt added a needed citrus zip and worked perfectly.

For a perfect wine match, throw a bottle or two of a crisp, dry Austrian Gruner-Veltliner or a nice, all-stainless Sauvignon Blanc and you'll be set!
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Farfalle with Yogurt and Zucchini
adapted from Food and Wine Magazine

total time: 25 min.
serves: 4 to 6
From Food and Wine: "One of the best (and simplest) pasta dishes from this year’s crop of cookbook authors comes from Johanne Killeen and George Germon, the chefs and owners of Al Forno in Providence, Rhode Island, and the authors of On Top of Spaghetti. This recipe calls for quickly boiling shredded zucchini in the same pot as the pasta, then tossing everything together in a sauce made with yogurt instead of cream. Yogurt may seem strange in a pasta sauce, but the result is brilliant."

1 pound farfalle
4 medium zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds), coarsely shredded
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon (or more, to taste) fresh squeezed lemon juice
Freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the farfalle until al dente; about 1 minute before the farfalle is done, add the shredded zucchini to the pot. Drain the farfalle and zucchini, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water.

2. Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, melt the butter. Remove from the heat. Stir in the Greek yogurt and the 1 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and season the yogurt sauce with lemon juice, freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper.

3. Add the farfalle, zucchini and reserved pasta water to the saucepan and cook over low heat, tossing, until the sauce coats the pasta; transfer to warmed bowls and serve with the extra cheese.

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