It’s potluck time again at I Heart Cooking Clubs and I’m once again cooking with Ellie Krieger. One thing I love about her recipes is their ease in preparation. Fortunately, simplicity doesn’t mean lack of flavor. Take this Penne with Zucchini and Mint. It’s just bursting with freshness and reminds me of warmer days ahead. Zucchini works with so many fresh herbs and mint is no exception. When you add in a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice and toss everything with a little Parmesan cheese, you’ll have a meal that’s ready in the time it takes to boil the pasta.
In addition to their simplicity, Ellie’s vegetable centric meals are easily adapted to suit a variety of eating styles. If you’re vegan, swap the Parm for your favorite substitute (this version uses pine nuts which would be fab with the mint.) If you’re also oil free, just steam saute the vegetables and omit the olive oil. Personally, I like the flavor the olive oil brings to the bowlful of penne with zucchini and mint.
Those of a more omnivorous nature might toss in some leftover chopped chicken breast. White beans would also be a great addition. Naturally, you can use any type of pasta your diet requires, just prepare it according to the label.
- 4 servings penne pasta (12 ounces or 350 grams). Reserve a cup and a half of the cooking liquid
- 2 large zucchinis cut into half moons shapes about ½ inch thick
- 1 medium onion peeled and cut into petals
- olive oil for sauteeing
- pinch red pepper flake
- ¼ cup sliced fresh mint leaves
- juice and zest of a large lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- Start the pasta water while you prep the vegetables. When the water comes to a boil add the penne and cook for about 12 minutes or as directed on the package.
- In a large skillet, saute the onions in a little olive oil seasoned with red pepper flakes until they soften and begin to change color.
- Add the the zucchini and toss to mix. Reduce the heat slightly, cover the skillet and steam/saute until the zucchini is tender.
- When the pasta is ready, reserve a cup and a half of the liquid and drain the rest. Return the penne to the pot it was cooked in
- Stir the lemon juice, lemon zest, most of the mint and parmesan cheese into the zucchini and onion. Add half of the reserved pasta water. Season to taste.
- Gently mix with the penne, adding more pasta water if needed to loosen the pasta and form a very light sauce.
- Garnish with the remaining mint before serving.
Minimal prep, minimal cleanup, maximum flavor. It doesn’t get much better unless you want to add a basket of your favorite bread and a glass of your favorite wine.
Be sure to visit I Heart Cooking Clubs to see what the other bloggers have cooked up for this month’s potluck!