Summer Pasta

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by Chef Darina Allen A simple dish, yet if the Parmesan is good and all the ingredients are fresh — sublime

Yield: Makes 10 servings

Course:
Occasion:
Theme: ,

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. penne or spaghetti
  • 1 lb. green and golden zucchini 5 to 6 inches in length
  • 1 lb. sugar snap peas
  • 2 ounces butter
  • 5 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons chopped parsley
  • 2 ounces fresh basil leaves chopped
  • 4 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • A few zucchini blossoms if available

Directions

  1. Top and tail the zucchini and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices at an angle. String the sugar snap peas if necessary.
  2. Bring 12 pints of water to the boil in a large deep saucepan, add 2 tablespoons salt, add the pasta, and cook until al dente.
  3. Meanwhile shoot the sugar snap peas into 2 pints of boiling water with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook uncovered for 3 to 4 minutes or until crisp and al dente. Drain. If you're adept at juggling and have enough stove space you can also cook the zucchini while the pasta and sugar snaps are cooking.
  4. Pop a pasta bowl into the oven to heat or better still put it sitting on top of the pasta saucepan.
  5. Heat the butter and olive oil in a sauté pan, toss in the zucchini, increase the heat, and continue to toss for 3 or 4 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, cover, and reduce heat to medium for another few minutes by which time the zucchini should be tender but still al dente. Draw off the heat. By now, if your timing is good, the pasta should be al dente, so drain it quickly.
  6. Add the sugar snap peas, chopped parsley, and torn basil to the zucchini. Pour in the steaming hot pasta, sprinkle on the freshly grated Parmesan and toss well.
  7. Turn into the hot pasta bowl. Sprinkle a few zucchini blossoms and basil leaves over the top if available. Rush to the table. Serve on hot plates with extra Parmesan and freshly ground pepper.

Tips/Techniques

This segment appears in show #3113. Recipe courtesy of Darina Allen © 2006 Darina Allen
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