All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2018

Monday, August 4, 2008

what I'll miss about summer - pasta salad with zucchini ribbons

There was a moment today, just as I finished making another pasta salad, when the light changed and I heard a tiny difference in the insect symphony outside. I looked at the calendar, noting it was still early August, but something had changed in the air. I went to the back yard and there was the proof - goldenrod, just about to bloom. In New Hampshire, seeing goldenrod is bittersweet, because it signals the end of summer. Sure, there will be glorious and sunny days, but it's also a time we start to think about winter - stocking up on firewood, picking apples at the orchard, worrying about the price of fuel oil. It reminds me of buying school supplies, new clothes, and birthday presents for my late August-born daughter, who now has a daughter of her own. Signing the kids up for soccer, weeding out the herb garden, and cutting bouquets of thyme, oregano, and lemon verbena to hang from the ceiling beams.
Enough of that ! We still have plenty of time before we see the first iced-over mud puddle in the driveway. But I did want to show you what I've been using lately in the ever delicious pasta salad, which are the ribbons of Gold Rush zucchini, blanched briefly in the boiling pasta water. Pretty as can be, along with the fresh grape tomatoes, shredded basil, cubes of mozzarella cheese, and a few black olives. I prefer green cracked olives, but there were only the black ones left in the fridge, so I used those.
To make:
Go through your fridge, gather your baskets of produce from the garden, and/or from the farmer's market. For the vegetables you will use raw, cut into manageable bites. For broccoli, cut into small "trees", and throw into the boiling pasta water about five minutes before the pasta is done, then drain along with the pasta. For the zuc ribbons, using a vegetable peeler, peel large strips from all sides of the zucchini, throwing away the inner core with the seedy part. Throw the ribbons in with the pasta water about a minute before it's done, then drain along with the pasta and broccoli.
Pasta Salad for 4 people
3 cups raw rotini
large pot of boiling water
For the veggies, etc:
rugula, spinach, basil leaves, cut into ribbons
broccoli cut into trees
grape tomatoes, whole, or other tomatoes in small dice
cubes of cheese, or shavings of parmesan
zucchini ribbons
shredded carrots, or tiny baby carrots, sliced on a slant
peas- fresh or thawed frozen ( no need to cook)
blanched green beans, cut on the bias
hard boiled eggs, cut in quarters
black or green olives, pitted
sliced or diced radishes
crispy sliced sweet peppers
ribbons of pumpkin or butternut squash, cooked briefly
raw mushrooms, sliced
bok choi, crisp part only, 1 inch slices
For the dressing:
equal parts virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar or herb vinegar
salt and freshly cracked pepper
2 cloves garlic, pressed
To make:
Boil the water and add the rotini or other pasta. Five minutes before it's done, add the sprigs of broccoli. One minute before it's done, add the zucchini ribbons. Drain all in a strainer and add to a large bowl. Mix in the dressing and add the other assembled veggies, herbs, and cheeses to taste.


linda said...

This pasta salad is so colorful and sounds like a great way to use up all the veggies in the fridge leftover from the farmer's market. I will make it one day this week. Thanks, Linda,

dina said...

Yummy! I love the zucchini ribbon thing - I've never thought of that! Brilliant!

I've been making Pesto like crazy and *that's* keeping me mindful of the approaching fall - well, that and the countdown until school starts again. Sigh... I'm not ready for the kids to go back to school yet. I'm sure I'll feel differently come September 2nd, but right now - not so much!

katrina said...

Hi Linda! Delighted this will work for you! It's a wonderful way to use up all those wonderful fresh veggies from the farmer's market - BEFORE you find them in the vegetable drawer going moldy.

katrina said...

Hi dina - isn't that the prettiest way to use fresh zucchini?

You're way ahead of me on pesto - it hasn't even occured to me yet! Thanks for the nudge.....and I know what you mean about the kids and school. So many summers were so blissfully happy- having picnics and swimming and waking up slowly, instead of the school year mania. I swear every day of school felt like the Kentucky Derby!

Barb said...

Hi Kat~ Do you 'Photoshop' your food pictures (okay, just kidding!) 'cuz they are so yummy looking I just want to get my fork and dig in!! That pasta salad looks soooooo good, I can't wait to try it! What a cool way to use a zuke!

Thanks so much

katrina said...

Hey Barb! I wouldn't know Photoshop if it bit me! Nope, just low tech digital camera, usually in a dead heat to use the last available early evening light on the terrace. I only use natural light, so these days of rain, rain, rain have been a challenge. Thanks for your great compliment! Ya make me so proud! And delighted you liked the recipe, too!