I have been a single, working mother with no babysitter for about two weeks now, and Ferdinand and I have been eating nothing that takes longer than ten minutes to cook. Not thirty, and not fifteen. Ten. I was trying to think about what to make for dinner last night and I thought “I want to cook about as much as I want to put on a costume and enter a contest to lift a two ton elephant.” I got worried about it for a minute, but thank goodness I was too tired to remember what I had been thinking as soon as Ferdinand’s hot dog and frozen french fries started burning up on the stove.
Then this morning, when I was in the back garden trying to decide if I was going to mow the lawn or let it go for another week, I saw a squash blossom. What do you know, my heart starting beating out of it’s deep freeze, and I got all veklempted about the smooth and creamy taste of orchiette with zucchini sliced ever so thinly and almost melted into a sauce with garlic and shallot and fresh basil and the tender petals of zucchini flowers torn in at the last minute with shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano. I’m coming back.
Thinly slice about eight small, very, very, fresh zucchini for 9 ounces of pasta. Heat up your best olive oil in a pan with three to four whole cloves of garlic and one minced shallot or half of a very small onion. Season with salt and pepper. When the shallot is soft and a little golden, add three to four basil leaves, and after a few more seconds, the zucchini. Add more salt to taste and one whole cayenne pepper (and don’t forget to take it out at the end). Let the zucchini cook, without stirring for about two minutes over medium heat. Turn the heat down and set a lid over the top so that it is ajar. Cook until the zucchini has completely collapsed. Meanwhile cook 9 ounces of pasta al dente. Drain well, reserving a bit of the liquid. Combine the pasta with the zucchini, a Tablespoon of heavy cream, or a spoonful of the pasta liquid, hand grated parmesan, and some torn basil and zucchini flowers. Taste for salt and black pepper.