By this time of year, zucchini is growing like a weed and it’s all I can do to keep up with the season’s bounty. Armfuls of summer squash are coming in from the farm each week, and whether it’s zucchini bread, fritters, pasta, or just lathering them up with salt and olive oil and eating them straight from the grill; I take it as a personal challenge to leave no zucchini uneaten.
This recipe cooks down a ton of zucchini in butter and garlic, breaking it down until it becomes its own pasta sauce. A plethora of garlic is essential, and the buttery kitchen aroma it creates is the stuff of dreams. White miso paste is my secret upgrade for this classic pasta, adding the deep umami flavor that sometimes I find is missing from standard pasta dishes.
Forever a hero in my kitchen, the 8” Chef Knife was the only tool I used to prep everything for these noodles. It packs a mean punch for kitchen projects big and small, ideal for dicing up summer squash and mincing garlic. It’s certainly what I would choose if I had to choose one knife to use for the rest of my days, and it’s often a stowaway for a vacation where I’m skeptical about my access to real knives. My 8” Chef Knife has seen quite a few camping trips, and it’s been checked more than once on a flight across the country.
Although the gigantic zucchinis the size of my arm are often enticing, opt for the small to medium sized ones for a richer flavor (toss those big ones into a food processor for zucchini breads and muffins). Since we cook the zucchini down quite a bit for this recipe, this isn’t absolutely essential, but I definitely prefer it.
- 16 oz. pasta (I prefer rigatoni or fusilli)
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 3 small to medium zucchini, half finely chopped, half more coarsely chopped
- 2 Tbsp. white miso paste
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Handful fresh basil, finely chopped
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet to medium with olive oil and add garlic and shallot.
- Once the shallot becomes translucent, add the finely chopped zucchini. After 3-4 minutes when moisture is starting to build from the zucchini, add white miso paste and let everything simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- At this point the mixture should feel sauce-like (add a smidge of water if it’s too dry). Add the butter and the rest of the zucchini.
- Cook the pasta al dente, according to the individual instructions. Once the pasta is cooked, add it to the skillet to stir everything together.
- Add parmesan cheese and lemon zest and let everything cook together on the skillet (turned to low) for another minute or two.
- Top with fresh basil and enjoy!