It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.
This pasta is a regular part of my dinner menu rotation; I substitute whatever vegetables are fresh and in season. This version uses the last of the local zucchini from my neighborhood market along with a healthy dose of fresh grape tomatoes. The pancetta adds saltiness and additional flavor to the dish but you can omit it and turn this into a vegetarian entrée. Alternatively, for a lighter and healthier dish, you can reduce the amount of pasta and substitute additional vegetables. I do this often and my family is none the wiser.
GARLICKY ZUCCHINI & TOMATO SPAGHETTI
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti, cooked according to package instructions with 1 cup of cooking liquid reserved
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced pancetta
1 small red onion, minced
6 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
2 medium zucchini squashes, cut into cubes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups mixed grape tomatoes, halved
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling water according to package instructions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the liquid, return to the cooking pot and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet set over medium-high heat.
- Add the pancetta and stirring occasionally, cook until crispy and browned.
- Add the onion and garlic and saute for an additional 3-4 minutes.
- Add the zucchini to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until the squash is browned and is slightly softened.
- Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping up any browned bits.
- Stir in the tomatoes and cook until heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour the vegetable mixture into the cooked spaghetti and using tongs, toss until the vegetables are evenly distributed. Add up to 1 cup of the reserved cooking water if the mixture seems dry. (I usually use about 1/2 cup).
- Divide the pasta among warmed shallow bowls and sprinkle with the grated cheese.