Creamy Zucchini Pasta Sauce
By: Eleni Saltas
Within several weeks of planting zucchini, I eagerly look for the first glimpse of those vibrant zucchini blossoms peeking through the intricate plant. When I pick my first full grown zucchini I beam with pride and wonder what I will cook first. By the time I seemingly pick my hundredth zucchini, my house oozes of the smell of oil from fried zucchini and my neighbors will no longer accept zucchini bread. If you’re like me and are up to your eyeballs in this prolific summer vegetable, try something out of the ordinary like this creamy zucchini pasta sauce.
Sautéed zucchini is cooked along with spices and blended with a handful of greens to create a smooth sauce, ideally mixed in with large tube pasta type to soak into all the crevices of the pasta. You can use your favorite pasta type, such as linguine or fettuccine or “zoodles”, the healthy method of spiralizing zucchini to make noodles. Whatever you decide on, you’ll certainly enjoy this way of utilizing your zucchini that isn’t bread.
- 16 ounces of your favorite pasta type
- ¾ cup reserved pasta water
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 5-6 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 medium zucchinis (about 3 cups)
- 2 teaspoons salt, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon of chili flakes, or to taste
- 1 cup greens of choice (chard or spinach is my favorite)
- 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Step by Step Instructions
Bring a pot of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve ¾ cup of pasta water. Drain.
Meanwhile, peel and cut your zucchini into chunks (no need to be perfect here, they’ll be blended up soon). In a large skillet or sauce pan, add olive oil to medium heat. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds to one minute. Add the zucchini and season generously with salt to release the water from the zucchini. Allow to sauté in pan for 5 minutes until the next step.
Add half of the reserved pasta water, and stir in the oregano and chili flakes. Cook until the zucchini soften, about 5-7 minutes. Season with extra salt, chili flakes, and oregano, if desired.
Add the zucchini mixture and its juices to a blender or food processor, plus the greens if using. Blend until smooth. Add extra liquid if needed.
Drain the pasta, and put back into the pot. Add the blended greens and mix in to coat evenly. Stir in the cheese immediately, so it melts into the sauce. Stir in lemon juice and enjoy.