Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fried Zucchini Spaghetti

When I was in college, I had a friend named Dave who would bring me home to his parent's house sometimes to hang out and get some good home cooking. Although his entire family was made up of extraordinary cooks (his dad owned restaurants), my absolute favorite thing to eat there was the simplest little snack his housekeeper would make just to whet our appetites until the real meal was served. She would quickly slice up some zucchini into thin little slivers, toss them around in a bit of flour, then lightly fry them and serve them up sprinkled with a touch of sea salt. For some reason, it was the best thing imaginable.

So when I saw an article in the April issue of Food & Wine about Gwyneth Paltrow's soon-to-be-released new cookbook (which, by the way, I've had pre-ordered for over a month now), along with her recipe for fried zucchini spaghetti, I made it that very day. And lo and behold, just like the hot, crisp zucchini slices I remember from 10 years ago, the dish is light and comforting and way more delicious than it should be, considering how easy it is to put together. And just look at it. Doesn't it look like summer on a plate? xo

Fried Zucchini Spaghetti
From Food & Wine, April 2011
1 pound small zucchini, very thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound spaghetti
1 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
1/2 cup torn basil leaves
Freshly ground pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving

In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with the flour and a pinch of salt. In a very large skillet, heat half of the oil until shimmering. Add half of the zucchini and fry over high heat, turning once or twice, until browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the zucchini to a paper towel–lined wire rack and season with salt. Repeat with the remaining oil and zucchini.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Return the pasta to the pot and toss with the 1 cup of cheese, the basil and a generous pinch of pepper. Add the reserved pasta water a little at a time, tossing well to coat. Transfer the pasta to a bowl and top with the crispy zucchini. Serve right away with lemon wedges and additional cheese.