penne with tomato & zucchini

a brief preface. after ruining some shortcrust pastry but continuing feebly and pathetically on to place said pastry into muffin tins to make some kind of aberrant semblance of a tartlet this post was an uphill battle and should have never been published. perhaps tomorrow, in the cold light of day, there might be a serious edit but until then – here are some bad words, poorly arranged, squeezed out of a ruined cook.

i was faced with a simple choice – penne with tomato and nutmeg or penne with zucchini and mint. well some people dont care for mint. there i said it. and since when is food and the institution of marriage analogous? ive felt for sometime that zucchini is better suited to garlic, to basil, and to hot things like chili. so zucchini and mint wasnt going to happen. thus, i rearranged the order of things and redefined food marriages according to the philosophy of someone i know – if you like both things, put them together. simplify it and there you have it – tomatoes good (with garlic and basil – much better) and zucchini good (with garlic and basil – gooder still). so here is dinner based on a new revolutionary movement – the one which understands no rules and no shoulds beyond that of their own palate. it might not be good for human culinary evolution, it might not be good for the digestive system, and it might not be good for those who believe some things to be fundamentally and unutterably wrong (ie. jam and mayonnaise) but when it works (albeit by fluke accident) its a wonderful thing.


500g cherry tomatoes (halved)

2 zucchinis

50g butter

3 garlic cloves peeled and finely sliced

handful of basil leaves

250g penne

handful of parmesan

50g ricotta

first, slice the zucchini lengthways into 2 cm slices. in a bowl coat zucchini in sliced garlic, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill until zucchini are soft. set aside.

melt 25g butter in fry pan over low heat. add garlic and cook til soft and light brown. then add the cherry tomatoes with good pinch of sea salt and simmer for 15 minutes. continue stirring until all the tomatoes are broken up. add salt and pepper. finally tear in some basil leaves and remove from the heat.

cook penne in boiling salted water until al dente. drain, return to the pan and add the remaining butter and a handful of parmesan and stir to combine. then add to the tomato sauce. finally toss in the zucchini and crumble in the ricotta and stir to combine.

i suggest pine nuts atop. but then i always do. i myself have never experienced any pine nut syndrome other than the one that affects the stomach after over-consumption. and i also believe that they should be added to the garlic/vanilla category of things defined by the maxim ‘you can never have too much’. tear over some basil. and enjoy in moderation (not a moral position, just a retrospective thought gained from bitter experience).


4 Responses to “penne with tomato & zucchini”

  1. 1 jo April 7, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    I love the tomatoey land of promise you are leading us towards, Moses-style.

  2. 2 schlepseleh April 7, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    i am but a humble servant of the will of the people. i cannot lead, i can only guide and nudge (who has become a very mature and eloquent young man), cajole and niggle until you find your own way to where i think it best that you be, mother style.

  3. 3 JJ April 8, 2010 at 9:32 am

    then the tomato said to the basil, “you’re as beautiful as you were the day i married you…”

  4. 4 matthieu April 8, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    i must insist that jam and mayonnaise with lettuce and honey glazed ham is fantastic. but that all, of course, pales when compared to this mountainous reign of pasta. beats the hell out of my three-can-delight what i used to cook and call “belissimo piano forte” and promptly wash it down with which ever Chateaux Cardboard was available by the glass. Elevate, my love, you continue to elevate. and that is divine.

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