When Gwyneth Paltrow came out with her cookbook, My Father's Daughter, earlier this year, there was one recipe that was heavily promoted. It was a fried-zucchini pasta dish. While it sounded easy and delicious, I decided to wait until zucchini season (which is now!) to give it a try. With just the zucchini rounds, basil, and parmesan cheese, it's a simple spaghetti, but it's absolutely amazing. The cheese coats the pasta and the lightly fried zucchini is crisp on the outside yet soft on the inside. Don't skip the fresh-squeezed lemon garnish, it really adds a brightness to the pasta. Enjoy as a vegetarian meal or serve alongside grilled chicken or shrimp for a more substantial dinner. Here's the straightforward recipe.
1 pound small zucchini, very thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound spaghetti
1 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
1/2 cup torn basil leaves
Freshly ground pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving
- In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with the flour and a pinch of salt.
- In a very large skillet, heat half of the oil until shimmering. Add half of the zucchini and fry over high heat, turning once or twice, until browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the zucchini to a paper towel–lined wire rack and season with salt. Repeat with the remaining oil and zucchini.
- Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.
- Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Return the pasta to the pot and toss with the 1 cup of cheese, the basil and a generous pinch of pepper.
- Add the reserved pasta water a little at a time, tossing well to coat.
- Transfer the pasta to a bowl and top with the crispy zucchini. Serve right away with lemon wedges and additional cheese.
- Main Dishes, Pasta