I think I will be saying, “Please excuse the mess, we just moved in,” for the next two years. The amount of junk we have is overwhelming as are the thousand small projects there are still to do to get the house up to snuff.
The stress of moving seemed to have sucked all my creativity and energy from me. I didn’t want to cook, I just wanted to clean, unpack, paint, and clean some more. The previous owners of this house left it in a bit of state. At one point I thought that I was losing it because I couldn’t remember walking around outside without my shoes on. I didn’t know that the bottoms of one’s bare feet could turn brown from walking on carpet. I also learned that it is possible to have smears of peanut butter and crackers in every kitchen cupboard and drawer. There was also what looked like peanut butter smeared behind the fridge. I didn’t brave a sniff test to see if actually was peanut butter.
With a lot of elbow grease, I got the house reasonably clean in time for the big move day on the 10th. I’m pretty sure Jeff and Vanessa wanted to take a blow torch to half of our stuff by the second day helping us move. We had so much stuff buried deep within the bowels of our old little house that I had to call in a couple moving ringers to help us out. My parents came down on Saturday morning with the dogs. Buffy and George were huge pains in the ass with all the kerfuffle going on but we couldn’t have done it without them.
Even with no time or inclination to cook, our CSA kept delivering boxes of what at times felt like 90% zucchinis. Some of them were monsters that I knew would be quite spongy in the middle. I wanted to stop pissing money away on take-out and, like many people, a quick way to throw a meal together is to do something with pasta. Sure, Timothy had no interest in eating the lovely strips of zucchini, but he did eat the pasta with the goat cheese sauce. Since it was adjacent to a vegetable, I figure this was a ‘win’ with the almost four-year old culinary critic.
You don’t need any fancy tools to make the zucchini ribbons, just a regular vegetable peeler. You just peel off the skin of the zucchini or summer squash in long strips, leaving behind the spongy centre. True, you do waste a large portion of the zucchini this way but I reckon that it is better to use some of it than to have them rot in the fridge because you don’t have time to use the whole thing. This recipe is just one of the many ways to use up that freakishly prolific summer vegetable.
What are some of your ideas to use zucchini and summer squash? I’m sure that other readers will be interested to know. Feel free to share any ‘dirty house’ moving stories too. I’m sure that a grubby carpet and peanut butter smeared cupboards are nothing compared to what others have moved into.
Shaved strips of zucchini and summer squash tossed with crisp pancetta, garlic, fresh herbs, creamy goat cheese and gluten free pasta for a quick summer meal.
15 minPrep Time
15 minCook Time
30 minTotal Time
- 2 cups of zucchini ribbons (skin of three or four zucchinis)
- 6 slices of pancetta
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tsp fresh thyme
- 1 tsp fresh oregano
- pinch salt and pepper
- 140 g (5 oz) goat cheese
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup whipping cream (35% cream)
- 225 g (8 oz) dry spaghetti or linguine
- approx. 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water
- fresh grated Parmesan for serving
- Start heating a large pot of boiling water for the pasta.
- Wash the zucchini and summer squash. With a vegetable peeler, shave long, flat strips off the zucchini. Shave down until you reach the white fleshy part and then turn the zucchini slightly so and shave another few strips. Keep rotating until you are left with the thick core of white spongy zucchini centre. Do this for 2, 3 or 4 zucchinis or summer squashes, until you get about 2 cups of strips.
- Cut the pancetta into bite size pieces and begin frying it in a large, deep frying pan with the olive oil.
- Add the pasta to the boiling, salted water and cook according to package instructions to al dente.
- Finely chop the garlic and herbs.
- When the pancetta is crisp, add the zucchini ribbons, salt, pepper, garlic and herbs. Toss and fry the zucchini for 2 or 3 minutes.
- Add the white wine and cook that down for a minute. Then add the goat cheese and stir to melt it into the zucchini and wine. Add the cream and stir it in.
- When the pasta is done, add it to the zucchini and sauce. Be sure to reserve at least a half cup of the pasta water.
- Toss together and add a few tablespoons of the pasta water. If it is too thick, add some more pasta water. If you have the consistency of the sauce that you like, then serve with a generous amount of freshly grated Parmesan.
You could make this an even quicker meal by using herb and garlic goat cheese.