Saturday, June 22, 2024

Creamy Lemon Zucchini Spaghetti To Celebrate The Summer Solstice!

One of the dishes I love to eat most in the summertime is a cheesy vegetarian pasta laden with fresh veggies and herbs. I literally dream about it all year!

Luckily, How Sweet Eats just posted this Creamy Lemon Zucchini Spaghetti that is right up my alley. It was kismet because I happened to have all the things on hand: spaghetti, lemon, Parmesan, cream, and lemon then also fresh baby zucchini from the farmer's market, as well as fresh basil and chives from my garden. I love it when things come together like that!

Think of this pasta dish as a creamy summertime pasta dish that is lighter than most cream-based pasta dishes. The way we accomplish the lighter feel is by using 2 cups of starchy pasta water and just 1/2 cup of cream. When you marry the caramelized cooked down zucchini with the pasta and the pasta cooking water you get a creaminess that only calls for very little cream. Also, Parmesan cheese is a lighter cheese, and when you add the Parmesan in stages, alternating the starchy pasta water, it produces creamy cheesy results for a lot less calories.

I'm gonna say, this might be THE pasta dish of the summer! It's economical, it's easy, and it's everything you crave in a pasta dish, creamy and comforting but with the bright pop fresh zing of summertime produce, veggies, and lemon zest. I also think it's very kid-friendly because most kids are veggie-averse and with the zucchini shredded and cooked down, you really don't notice it as much. 

What is your favorite summertime pasta dish?  

Creamy Lemon Zucchini Spaghetti

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

by Jessica Merchant

Serves 4

3 to 4 cups freshly grated zucchini, before squeezing

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound spaghetti or other long noodle

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest

1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for topping

3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1/3 cups Parmesan cheese

Freshly grate the zucchini. Place it in a large kitchen towel and squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the zucchini with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to toss. Cook, stirring over, until the zucchini melts down and becomes caramelized, about 20 to 25 minutes (mine only took about 10-12 minutes). Stir in the garlic.

While the zucchini cooks, bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the spaghetti. When its finished, reserve 2 cups of the starchy pasta water.

Transfer the pasta to the pan with the zucchini - you can take it right from the pot and place it in the zucchini skillet. Add 1 cup of the reserved starchy water and the heavy cream. Stir and toss until combined. Stir in the lemon zest and the finely grated Parmesan.

Add another 1/2 cup of the starchy water, stirring to combine. Add in the fresh basil and chives. Taste and if needed, add in more salt, pepper or lemon zest or Parmesan. 

Top the pasta with the Parmesan and a bunch of fresh basil. Serve immediately!

 Summer Solstice @ I Heart Cooking Clubs!

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