Contributed By Marissa Bognanno, Author of The Boot Blog
"A plate of pasta has to smoke and be eaten immediately for it to be good. Un piatto fumante, a smoking plate!" Manu declares as I get down on the floor balancing my camera on a mixing bowl and teeter the smoking plate of pasta con le zucchine on a step stool near the window to get some photos. "Mari! Hurry with your blogging, the plate needs to smoke!"
Italians have so many rules.
Like, 1) The pasta has to be al dente. I like this rule, it makes the pasta feel substantial, like a good steak.
2) The plate must be hot. (See smoking comment above.)
3) Freshly grated parmigiano on top is key, but not if you're eating fish, peas, broccoli or broccoli rabe.
4) And the rule at our house? When in doubt, (or if the pantry's empty) make pasta with zucchini. It's our staple. It's fast, nutritious and full of flavor.
(Extra points if the plate smokes.)
1/4 pound penne rigate pasta
2 medium zucchini
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove
generous pinch crushed red pepper1/4 tsp salt
Put a pot of water over high heat. In the meantime, slice the zucchini in half, then chop into half moons. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the crushed red pepper with the garlic clove. When it starts to sizzle, add the zucchini and salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta water starts to boil. Add salt to the water and add the pasta. Add 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking liquid to the zucchini and stir. Taste and check the seasonings. When the pasta's ready, drain and add directly to the pan with the zucchini. Saute until mixed and serve immediately with grated parmigiano.
What are the staples in your house? And do you have any food rules?