Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Whole Wheat Pasta with Julienned Zucchini

[Photograph: Blake Royer]

I cook a heck of a lot of pasta, and I'm always looking for ways to make it a little bit healthier for myself. One easy strategy for doing so, especially in the summer when there's so much great produce to choose from, is to steadily increase the ratio of vegetables to noodles. It doesn't work with all pastas (though broccoli or broccoli rabe with orecchiette is a particularly delicious one), but when it does, it's satisfying, and you get up from the table feeling that much lighter.

It's particularly effective when, like this recipe, the vegetables themselves are in the shape of noodles, fooling me further. In this recipe I found on an old Smitten Kitchen post adapted from Michael Chiarello, strands of zucchini are steamed briefly over the pasta pot until they are still a bit crunchy, then tossed with sautéed garlic, red chile flakes, and basil, and bound with a simple sauce of Parmesan and pasta cooking water. Early summer eating at its best.

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