Pasta With Roasted Zucchini, Almonds and Basil

Monday, May 23, 2011

Friday night before running the half-marathon, I wanted to eat some healthy carbs, and I figured it would be a good excuse to try out a new recipe. (Plus, we were having friends over, one of whom is a vegetarian.) Back in October I had clipped an article from the New York Times about whole wheat pasta, but I'd never gotten around to trying any of the recipes from the article.

We tried the Creamy Pasta With Roasted Zucchini, Almonds and Basil and it's a winner. I doubled the recommended lemon zest and the almonds, and added a sprinkling of fresh, chopped basil on top. I might add even more of all those things next time to boost the flavor.

Creamy Pasta With Roasted Zucchini, Almonds and Basil
Adapted from the New York Times

2 medium zucchini, cut into
1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons slivered almonds
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 sprig basil, with leaves and stem
3 tablespoons goat cheese
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
6 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti or linguine
4 tablespoons fresh, chopped basil

1. Heat oven to 500 degrees. Toss the zucchini and oil with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Arrange zucchini on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast, tossing occasionally, until golden and tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a skillet over medium heat until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.
3. Simmer the cream and basil sprig in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 7 minutes. Lift stem out of sauce and remove the leaves from the stem and put them back in the sauce.Whisk in the goat cheese until the sauce is smooth. Remove from heat; stir in lemon zest and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and keep warm.
4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain well. Toss the pasta with the cream sauce. Serve topped with the zucchini, almonds and fresh basil. Add a few grinds of fresh pepper to taste.

Yield: 2 servings

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