Because sometimes if feels as if there is no end to the zucchini crop, it seems only fitting to offer as many recipes as we could come up with.
Zucchini, corn and basil are a fine trio in this pasta dish.
Zucchini, Sweet Corn, and Basil Penne with Pine Nuts and Fresh Mozzarella
Serves 4 to 6
Zucchini, corn and basil are a fine trio – and Cara Mangini turns to them again and again, she writes in The Vegetable Butcher (Workman Publishing, Thomas Allen & Sons Ltd., 2016), where this recipe appears. Here, they come together in a bright summer pasta showered with lemon juice and studded with pine nuts and fresh mozzarella. To ensure enough flavour for this simple sauce, remember to salt the pasta water.
Fine sea salt
3/4 pound high-quality dried penne
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small red or yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch by 3-inch sticks
Kernels from 2 ears of fresh corn
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into bite-sized pieces
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly shaved Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Your best extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish
Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it generously. (Add 1 tablespoon of salt for every 4 quarts.) Cook the penne according to package instructions until just shy of al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving at least 2 cups of pasta water for the sauce.
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, deep frying pan or Dutch oven. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to brown lightly, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the zucchini, turn heat up to high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini softens, 6 to 8 minutes: You’ll need to add up to 1 cup of the reserved pasta water, a bit at a time, as the zucchini cooks and becomes dry and sticks to the pan.
Adjust heat to medium and add the corn, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the red pepper flakes and the butter. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes more. Add the penne and 1/2 cup of the pasta water, and stir well to incorporate. Cook, stirring often, until pasta is well coated and the sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes.
Turn off heat and add half the basil and the pine nuts and mozzarella. Add the lemon juice to taste and stir well to incorporate it. Scoop the penne into individual shallow bowls, making sure to evenly distribute the zucchini and corn. Top with the remaining basil, a fresh shaving of Parmesan and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.
Zucchini Fries with Tomato Aioli
Makes 24 fries
These fries, from America Farm to Table (Grand Central Life & Style), by Mario Batali and Jim Webster, aren’t fried at all. They’re roasted.
For the aioli:
2 large egg yolks (reserve the whites for the zucchini fries)
1 clove garlic
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons warm water
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the zucchini fries:
Olive oil or olive oil cooking spray
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3 large egg whites, whipped to very soft peaks
4 medium zucchini, trimmed
To make the aioli, place the egg yolks, garlic, lemon zest and juice, tomato paste and water in a blender and blend until smooth. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil until a creamy sauce is formed. Season with salt and set aside.
To make the zucchini fries, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray or else spread olive oil lightly over the sheet with a piece of paper towel. In a pie pan or shallow bowl, mix together the thyme, oregano, flour and salt. Place the panko and the Parmigiano-Reggiano in a separate pie pan or shallow bowl and place the whipped egg white in a third pie pan or shallow bowl. Slice each zucchini in half lengthwise and then each half into 3 pieces lengthwise.
Dredge the zucchini in the flour mixture and then (ideally, using the other hand so that you have a “dry” and a “wet” hand) dip them into the egg whites. Finally, dredge them in the panko, place the coated zucchini on the prepared baking sheet and roast, turning once, until crisp, about 12 to 15 minutes. Serve hot, with aioli on the side.
A miso dressing packs flavour into these grilled kebabs.
Grilled Miso Tofu & Veggie Kebabs
Serves 4 to 6
These kebabs, from Lick Your Plate, by Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat (Pinky Swear Press Inc., 2016; excerpted by permission of Appetite by Random House, a division of Random House of Canada Ltd. a Penguin Random House company), taste best when prepared on a grill. Allow 30 to 60 minutes to marinate the kebabs – and, if you use wooden or bamboo skewers, soak them first in water for 30 minutes.
1/2 cup yellow miso paste
1/4 cup warm water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons mirin, sweet Japanese cooking wine
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 medium green zucchinis, cut into thick round slices and then halved, if necessary
2 medium yellow zucchinis, cut into thick round slices and then halved, if necessary
1 red bell pepper, cut into large chunks
1 yellow pepper, cut into large chunks
1 12-ounce package extra-firm tofu
For the Miso Dressing: In a blender, combine miso paste, water, vegetable oil, mirin, brown sugar, rice vinegar and ginger. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
For the tofu: Cut tofu into 24 one-inch cubes, pat dry with paper towels, and place in a medium bowl. Toss with one-quarter cup miso dressing, cover and set aside to marinate for 30 to 60 minutes. Place cut vegetables in another bowl, toss with one-quarter cup miso dressing, setting aside to marinate. Reserve remaining dressing to brush on while grilling.
Lightly oil grill and pre-heat to medium. Thread the tofu and vegetables, alternating tofu, green zucchini, yellow zucchini, red peppers and yellow peppers. Grill skewers, brushing with more dressing as needed. Turn skewers occasionally, until lightly charred, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from grill and drizzle with any remaining miso dressing, if desired.
Zucchini Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Drizzle
Serves 8 to 10
This moist olive oil cake is full of shredded zucchini and features warm spices, vanilla and a hint of citrus, writes Cara Mangini in The Vegetable Butcher (Workman Publishing, Thomas Allen & Sons Ltd., 2016). A lemon drizzle adds extra sweetness and brightness, but the cake is delightful plain, she writes. The recipe calls for baking in a tube pan or angel food cake pan but a standard Bundt cake pan works, too: It produces a crustier cake that is slightly less moist.
Butter, for greasing the pan
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for flouring the pan
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
About 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 1/2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini (about 1 1/2 zucchini)
1 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely or finely chopped (optional)
Lemon Drizzle (recipe follows; optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter and then flour a 9-inch tube pan. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the 3 cups of flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and ginger. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sugar, maple syrup and vanilla. Add the eggs and whisk until they are fully combined. Add the lemon zest and juice and the zucchini and stir to combine. Gradually stir the flour mixture and walnuts, if adding, into the zucchini mixture until combined; do not over-stir.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until top of cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then use a butter knife to gently release the cake from side of the pan. Pull up on the centre tube and lift cake from the outside pan. Let cake cool on the rack, then spoon the lemon drizzle over it, if using.
Makes about 1/2 cup
About 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Whisk together all the ingredients until the mixture is glossy, smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Whisk in drops of water if needed to thin it out, or up to 3/4 cup more sugar to thicken it.
Surrender to zucchini with tasty dishes that use up that bumper crop