I think everybody can name at least one ingredient they don’t particularly like. For me, it is zucchini. I can eat it but I don’t enjoy it. I would never leave it on the plate but that is only because my Mom taught me so when I was little. So I thought I should tackle it in a way I’ve never tried before and see what comes out of it. I did so with Brussels sprouts in the past and I was successful. And who do I trust the most with transforming simple ingredients into something extraordinary? Anne Burrell, of course!
Let me tell you, zucchini never tasted better before! I think it was the fresh oregano (thank you, Russo’s market in Watertown!) and the toasted pine nuts that made the dish for me. I use oregano all the time but I’ve never used fresh stuff before. If you’ve never done it either, please try – it makes a huge difference in the richness of flavor.
I served my zucchini on top of olive-oil dressed spaghetti. The pine nuts added earthiness to the dish – little delights hidden in the thick sauce. Make sure you don’t go overboard with the salt as you will need to add half a cup of salty Parmigiano at the very end. Enjoy!
Serves 4 to 6
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- Kosher salt
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
- 1 14 oz can San Marzano tomatoes, passed through a food mill or pureed
- 2 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and then into 1/4-inch slices on the bias
- 1/2 bunch fresh oregano leaves finely chopped
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano
Coat a large, straight-side saute pan with olive oil, toss in the onion, and bring to medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the onion is soft and aromatic, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the tomatoes and 1 cup water, taste, and season with salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until the mixture has reduced by about half. Stir in the zucchini, cover, and cook for another 15 minutes or until it is soft and pliable.
Remove the lid and toss in the oregano and pine nuts. Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes or until the excess liquid has evaporated and the zucchini is hanging out in a thick tomato sauce. Stir in the Parm, taste, and adjust the seasoning if needed. Serve hot or at room temp.