Fusilli Vegetariani

   Fusilli with Carrots and Zucchini

Fusilli con carote e zucchine
Fusilli con carote e zucchine

What to make quickly when guests arrive on short notice, it is blistering hot outside, and the garden is overflowing with zucchini!? This was my conundrum last night. Try a pasta that can satisfy hungry appetites and go along well side-by-side with grilled meats and vegetables. The lovely part of this recipe is that you can use “the sauce” as a condiment for pasta or use it as a base for risotto, which I prepare often. The other lovely part of the recipe is that the carrots and zucchini are shredded (just like you would for a carrot salad). This not only cooks quickly, but the fine cut of the vegetables flavors the pasta intensely. I shred them in a food processor on a medium shredding blade, but you can also grate them by hand. And zip…. the prepping is done.

Ingredients

3-4 shredded and peeled carrots (about 2 cups)

1 -3 shredded zucchini (depending on size) (again about 2 cups – a little more ok)

½ onion sliced thin (I quarter the onion first then slice)

¼ cup olive oil

1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

½ teaspoon pepper (or to taste)

a handful of fresh basil, chopped  or julienned

1 pound box of fusilli or penne (a short pasta works best)

grated parmigiano

Directions:

1. Put on a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Pour the olive oil in a wide 12 inch skillet over medium heat.Once the pan is hot, add the onions and cook until soft about five minutes. Add the carrots, stir, and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the zucchini and stir again. Salt and pepper the vegetables and cook them until they turn soft about 10 minutes. You may have to add a little water if the vegetables need more moisture. Do not dry out too much because you will then add the pasta and you will need that liquid.

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At this point, if you are making risotto (and if you are, it is advisable that you cook it in a pot instead), add the Arborio rice (about 1 ½ cups) and proceed as you normally would by adding broth and stirring and so on.

For the pasta, instead, cook it according to package instructions. As you drain it, reserve some of the water to add to the pasta if it should look dry. Add the pasta to the vegetables and stir all over high heat for a minute. Adjust the seasoning and give it a last stir. Place in a large bowl, sprinkle the top with fresh basil and a generous handful of parmigiano. Serves 5 as a first course or 8 as a side with grilled meats and a salad.

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