We’ve all had those post-farmer’s market moments when, while unloading your goodies, you remember that you actually bought three pounds of zucchini in an optimistic moment, and now you wonder what the heck you are going to do with it. Well, this is what. Think of this as a lemon-garlic salad dressing tossed with pasta, vegetables, and cheese. The only stove time needed is to heat the water and cook the pasta.
- 6 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ medium red onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
- 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 large lemons)
- 1 fresh chile, seeded or not, and minced, or ground chile to taste (Aleppo is one we like, and for fresh sting, a small Thai chile)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 to 3 anchovy fillets, rinsed (optional)
- 1 pound pasta (fetuccine, tagliatelle, or linguine)
- 1½ pounds zucchini (5 medium zucchini), cut into ¼-inch x 2-inch sticks
- 1/3 tightly packed cup fresh basil leaves, torn
- ¼ to 1/3 tightly packed cup fresh mint leaves, torn
- 1 tightly packed tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, torn
- ½ cup black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
- 3 to 4 tablespoons good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup whole toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
- 1½ cups (6 ounces) shredded medium-aged sheep cheese or Italian or American Asiago
To make the sauce: In a large serving bowl, combine the garlic, onion, lemon juice, chile, salt and pepper to taste, and anchovy (if using). Set aside.
To make the pasta: Bring 6 quarts salted water to a boil in an 8-quart pot. Drop the pasta into the boiling water. Add the zucchini to the pasta in the water 4 minutes before the pasta is done (check the box for timing). Once the pasta is tender but still has a little bite (al dente), scoop up ½ cup pasta water and set aside. Immediately drain the pasta and zucchini in a colander.
To finish the paste: Stir the reserved hot pasta water into the lemon juice mixture along with the basil, mint, oregano, olives, and oil. Add the drained pasta and zuccini and toss to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste (be generous with the black pepper), and then toss with the almonds and cheese. Serve hot.