Here’s a contemporary take on the simple Italian dish called pasta aglia olio (pasta with garlic and olive oil). It’s welcome any time you want a light yet satisfying pasta dish, and is especially good when smaller, more flavorful zucchini come to market in midsummer. The twist to this version of a classic dish is that it uses less pasta and more vegetable — spaghetti and zucchini noodles mingle beautifully and cook in the same pot.
If you don’t have a a spiral slicer, you can buy spiralized zucchini in the produce section of well-stocked supermarkets. It’s a bit pricier that way, but very handy. Or, you can just cut fresh whole zucchini into matchsticks. Of course, you can create long zucchini “noodles” with a vegetable peeler, but doing so with this much zucchini can be a bit tedious.
Serve with a simple salad of mixed greens, chickpeas, carrots, tomatoes, and olives. Add another green vegetable to the plate if you’d like — green beans or asparagus go nicely with this dish. And there you go — an easy meal that’s especially good for warm weather, but which can be enjoyed any time of year.
- 8 to 10 ounces thin or regular spaghetti
- 2 medium or 4 small zucchini (about 1 pound), spiralized
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 to 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
- Sliced fresh basil leaves or chopped parsley as desired
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente.
- Meanwhile, spiralize the zucchini using the medium blade. Cut the spirals here and there, since they’ll be very long. Once the pasta is nearly done, plunge the spiralized zucchini into the cooking pot and stir in with the pasta.
- Cook for just a minute or two longer, then drain. Return to the cooking pot and cover.
- Heat half of the oil in a small skillet. Add the garlic and sauté over low heat for a minute or two, then deglaze with the wine.
- Add the garlic mixture to the cooked pasta and zucchini in the cooking pot and drizzle in the remaining olive oil along with the lemon juice.
- Add as much basil or parsley as you’d like and season with salt and pepper. Admittedly, this is a mild dish, so you’ll have to salt judiciously.
- Toss everything together and serve straight from the pot or transfer to a serving container.
Variation: Use yellow summer squash, pattypan, or other soft summer squashes to replace some or all of the zucchini.
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 342 Total Fat: 12g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 9g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 123mg Carbohydrates: 50g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 12g Protein: 9g
Easiest Vegan Parmesan-Style Topping
Homemade vegan Parmesan are usually a combination of nutritional yeast plus ground cashews or almonds. This version is even easier because you don’t need a machine to make it. Just two ingredients — almond flour (found in most natural foods stores) and nutritional yeast, fondly known as “nooch” — and you’ve got a great topping for pasta dishes like this one featuring spaghetti and zucchini noodles.
A tablespoon or two of this topping provides you with a nice dose of Vitamin B12 (from the nutritional yeast), and almond flour is a great source of Vitamin E and calcium.
What to do: Simply combine a more or less equal amount of nutritional yeast and almond flour in a small container. I usually go with 1/2 cup of each. For that amount, I add 1/4 teaspoon of salt; add your salt to taste. Mix it up well, then cover any unused portion tightly. This will keep well in the fridge almost indefinitely, but there’s no way you’ll make it last that long!
Photos by Oksana Yasi