It started as an attempt to use up some zucchini from the garden, which isn't always the most exciting of tasks. But Jen decided to take the reigns and came up with something quite extraordinary, inspired by a dinner she'd had at The Red Cat. One thing that made the dish so special was how fine the zucchini was cut. We used a combination of rotini and penne because we didn't have enough of either.
Penne with Zucchini and Almonds
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons red chili flakes, or to taste
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 medium-sized zucchini, shredded on a mandolin, or sliced by hand into julienne (matchsticks)
2/3 cup browned breadcrumbs
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 lb cooked whole wheat or regular penne
In a medium sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium flame. Add the garlic and sauté until just beginning to color. Add the chili flakes, almonds, and the shredded zucchini, stirring to coat with oil. Cook until zucchini begins to color, about 3-5 minutes.
Toss with cooked pasta, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.