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"Fave Pasta" - Guest Post!

While I’m off gallivanting around Portland with vegan bloggers galore, Andi, my good buddy & vegan sidekick, is keeping the blog warm by submitting what will be the first of a series of her guest posts! Andi is a brilliant Speech-Language Pathologist & I had the pleasure of being her assistant for a year & a half. Sadly, budget cuts & circumstances ended our working relationship, but not our friendship! In fact, it was Miss Andi who gave me the initial inspiration for, & the name, of this blog! Oh…& can you tell by her witty charming style that she is a also budding author? Oh yes she is! Watch out for this one! :) 

"Fave Pasta" - by Andi

Ahhhh…it is that time of year when CSA bags & boxes are full of zucchini. And while zucchini & I are old friends, one does come to the point of “What now??” when the latest batch arrives. Despite all my cookbook scouring, searching for something not yet tried, inspiration arrived via a most unlikely source: People magazine. Yep. People magazine. Who knew? 

My most guilty pleasure while at the hair salon is to load my lap with as many Hollywood gossip rags as possible & catch up on all the (nonsense) “news”.  So, whilst sitting under the helmet-head dryer, sweating buckets in the mandatory black “protective” cape, I came across this little beauty of a pasta recipe featuring our beloved vegetable – roasted no less!!  Who doesn’t love roasted veggies?  

Next step was to surreptitiously remove said recipe from magazine. Poor behavior – indeed! – & I felt more than a little guilty. However, I did at least look first to see if I was destroying an article, & my only disruption was the removal of half a picture of a chicken Milanese recipe. Phew! At least no one would be left wondering if Angelina & Brad are on the outs & Jennifer is back in the picture.  

The recipe was not vegan-ready, but vegetarian (good start!) & it was beyond easy to veganize it. Soooooo, I will post the recipe in its original form, & my veganizing strategies will follow.  

Oh! I failed to mention that this is Piper Perabo’s “Fave Pasta” recipe. Piper who? Yeah, I had to Google that one too. Coyote Ugly anyone?? Apparently, Piper’s talents do not stop at dancing on bars in cowboy boots; she put some of that Hollywood cashish toward N.Y.C.’s “nouveau American restaurant” Employees Only (she is noted as an “investor” in that project).    

"Spaghetti with Roasted Zucchini"

  • 2 Medium zucchini, sliced into ½-in. rounds
  •  Olive Oil
  • ½ cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  •  Zest of ½ lemon
  • 1 ½ tsp. butter
  • ¼ cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh mint
  • 6 oz. spaghetti
  • ¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives 
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 450°. Place zucchini on a sheet pan. Drizzle with 1 tsp. olive oil & sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste. Roast for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring once. Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. In a 12-in. sauté pan, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil. Sauté onions over medium-low heat for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic & sauté 1 minute. Stir in zucchini & lemon zest. Remove pan from heat.  
  3. Melt butter in small skillet over low heat. Add bread crumbs & sauté until lightly browned. Let cool, stir in mint & set aside.  
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta & cook for 9 minutes. Drain, reserving ¼ cup of pasta cooking water. Add pasta to zucchini mixture. Add olives & reserved water. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low & sprinkle in cheese. Toss pasta until cheese melts. Divide between two bowls. Top with bread crumbs.  

Andi’s Veganization & Cheater Tips: 

For you experienced vegan chefs out there, you most definitely want to skip this little tutorial, as you already know all these strategies. 

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  • The butter may easily be substituted with any non-dairy butter option; Earth Balance is my go-to choice.  
  • I cheated & used Edward & Sons Organic Breadcrumbs (thanks Jimbo’s!), so I skipped the whole non-dairy butter step completely! They have Italian & Onion Garlic Golden Panko options – I ended up using a combo of both, as I was just about out of my Italian crumbs. 
  • Nutritional Yeast played the Parmesan cheese role. I would recommend using a bit more of the pasta cooking water than this recipe recommends when using the Nutritional Yeast option; I believe it may soak up the water more than the Parmesan, thus the pasta ends up a bit dry.  

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The fresh-from-my-herb-pot mint was a uniquely delightful touch. I recently planted a new-to-me “Peppermint” mint variety, & I find it is especially fragrant; it made its presence known, yet didn’t hijack the other flavors. 

We also have a lemon tree that goes into production over-drive this time of year – it’s like a perpetual Easter egg hunt as I go collecting the beautiful lemon “eggs” our tree has deposited in our lawn & beneath her branches. 

Kalamata olives never fail to delight, especially when married to pasta. My number one food critic & champion – husband Kevin – really enjoyed the flavor interaction of the olives & mint.     

Final verdict: DE-FRICKIN’-LICIOUS!! This one goes in the keeper file, for sure. 

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