I traveled to Chicago for work the other month and had dinner with one of my dear friends, The Parakeet. We both support the idea of buying locally grown food and she recommended the book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver. Its the story of a family that eats only local produce and meat for an entire year — quite the challenge!
The book was great, and the chapter on zucchini cracked me up. It describes how zucchinis are so prolific during the summer months in the author’s farming community that people are desperate to get rid of them. The author’s family would routinely come home to find a gift bag full of zucchini anonymously left hanging from their mailbox. And instead of being mad, they’d think, “that is a *great* idea!”
In the spirit of being over-zucchinified (yes, that is a word), they came up with the recipe below, which I have adapted slightly, to help their zucchini disappear. It uses a ton of the vegetable, and I was nervous I would be asking myself the question “would you like some orzo with your zucchini?” But the final product definitely does not taste over-zucchinified…its fresh and delicious. Perfect for me, since even the one plant’s worth of zucchini I have is a lot for just one person to eat! I even got to put the onions in it since the zucchini had already disqualified it from BK consumption!
¾ pound orzo pasta
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
3 large zucchini
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
½ cup grated parmesan or any hard yellow cheese
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Bring 6 cups water or chicken stock to a boil and add pasta. Cook al dente.
Use a cheese grater or mandoline to shred zucchini, sauté briefly with chopped onion and garlic until lightly golden. Add spices to zucchini mixture, stir thoroughly, and then remove mixture from heat.
Combine with cheese and cooked orzo, salt to taste, serve warm or at room temperature.
Slightly adapted from “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life,” by Barbara Kingsolver.