Thursday, June 6, 2013

My Crazy Life & Basil Pasta with Zucchini

A few weeks ago I got a call at the office from my hubby; that went something like this:

(H) I just had sex with the zucchini plant!
(M) WTH!!!
(H) Well you know how they haven't been producing?
(M) I guess
(H) It's because the male flowers didn't pollinate the female flowers
(M) OH!
(H) So I just rubbed a q-tip on the male and wiggled it into the female
(M) OH!

Yes, this conversation really happened.  And believe it or not within a few days...we got zucchini.

Basil Pasta with Zucchini
Recipe adapted from Mario Batali
 4 to 6 servings

Pasta Dough:
2 bunches fresh basil, finely chopped
4 cups cake flour
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino

10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch-thick half moons
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon chile flakes
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped to yield 1/4 cup
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Make a mound of the flour, then make a well in the center. Crack the eggs into the well, pour the milk over, and add the basil. Using a fork, stir the egg mixture slowly into the flour to form a wet dough. Add the grated cheese and, working now with your hands, bring the dough together and knead 8 to 10 minutes to form a smooth dough. Allow to rest 15 minutes covered in plastic wrap.

Set up a pasta rolling machine and cut off a piece of pasta dough the size of a tennis ball. Roll the pasta through the rollers on the widest setting, then fold it by thirds and run it through again on the same setting. Repeat this three times, being careful to add very little flour, as it will dry out the pasta. Run the pasta through the next two thinner settings. It should be quite thick.

Lay the sheet of pasta onto a floured cutting board and use a knife to cut crosswise into 1/3-inch strips. Lay the cut noodles on a kitchen towel and cover with another. Roll and cut the remaining pasta the same way.

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt. In a 12 to 14-inch saute pan, heat 6 tablespoons of the oil and the garlic over medium heat until the garlic is light golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook until just soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and chili flakes and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.

Drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook until tender yet al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain and toss into the pan with the zucchini and place pan over high heat. Cook to heat through, about 1 minute, and pasta and sauce have become one.

Add the parsley and toss with the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil, off the heat. Pour into a heated serving bowl and serve with pepper.

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