I don't like ziti. In fact, I hate it. Nine and a half times out of ten, I will substitute it out of a recipe. Who needs it? For one thing, it is a boring shape. Tubes. Blah. Two, is has no texture. Sauces seem to slide right off the damn thing on its way to my mouth. And really, what is pasta, if not an efficient means for delivering delicious sauces to my taste-buds? Three, most ziti is just a little too long to fit in my mouth sideways, which means that whatever small amount of sauce was able to desperately cling to the too-smooth surface, does not so much end up in my mouth, as on my face. Really, ziti? Let's just say, ziti and I got beef.
Nonetheless, since there wasn't really a sauce to this dish, I'll thought I would attempt to let bygones be bygones. Not to mention the fact that "ziti" and "zucchini" are really fun to say in the same sentence. Ziti Zucchini. Zucchini Ziti. Ziti, ziti, I love zucchini. Yum.
Ziti with Roasted Garlic, Onions and Zucchini
(Adapted from Bon Appetit, October, 2010)
2 lbs. zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
2 cups onions, cut into quarters and thinly sliced
12 garlic cloves, chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
1 lb. box of ziti
1/2 - 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine zucchini, onions and garlic. Toss vegetables with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and crushed red pepper. Spread veggies out across two rimmed baking sheets and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast veggies for 30 to 35 minutes, moving/stirring the veggies a couple of times.
While the vegetable are roasting, cook the pasta in a large pot according to the directions on the box. Drain, reserving about 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Return the pasta to the pot and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cover until the vegetables are done roasting, then mix in veggies and 1/4 of cooking liquid. If your timing is a little off and either the vegetables or the pasta gets cold, just warm everything in the large pot over medium heat until heated throughout. Mix in basil and cheese.* Add more of the cooking liquid, a little bit at a time, if necessary. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
|Did I mention yum?|
*There was a little bit of a trade off with the cheese. I get very annoyed when adding grated cheese to hot pasta dishes because the cheese so often wads up and encases a smattering of random ingredients in giant cheese balls, while the rest of the dish goes virtually uncheesed. (Yeah, "cheese" can be used as a verb). So I tried to add the cheese about 1/4 cup at a time and mix well before adding more. The trade off is that all the additional mixing (perhaps I was too forceful?) tore apart the zucchini. Oh, well, I'll trade pretty for delicious (and no cheese bombs!) any day.