Zucchini, Burrata, and Basil Pasta Salad

Pasta SaladFirst and foremost, apologies for the significant time between posts.  As many of you know, I’m pregnant, and being pregnant has reverted me back to child-like eating and little desire for cooking (it doesn’t help that just standing in the kitchen makes my back hurt).  However, thanks to Labor Day weekend, my sister and I cooked one simple, but amazingly delicious dish.

Now to the cooking part – We were lucky enough to get to spend another lazy Sunday afternoon in the backyard of the Dude Ranch with our cousins from New York.  They came bearing amazing gifts; this year, for Patrick and me, a copy of Plenty by Ottolenghi.  I’ve heard about the book, perused it, and funny enough, recently contemplated a recipe on Smitten Kitchen adopting a recipe from the book (but refer to point 1 for the reason I hadn’t made it yet).  But with this beautiful, new colorful cookbook from my beautiful family, Ashley and I were determined to try our first recipe.  For Labor Day, along with meat for the boys and ice cream for dessert, we whipped up this pasta salad, which is delicious on its own as a meal, hot or cold, and was a lot easier to make than I expected.  I hope you enjoy as much as we did.

Here’s what you need:

1 pound pasta of your choice (we did a shape that was a mixture between rigatoni and penne – just make sure you pick something that allows the sauces to stick)

5 medium zucchini, cut into quarter-inch rounds

enough vegetable oil to fill the bottom of a non-stick skillet about 1/4 inch deep

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 cups basil leaves

1/3 cup + a little more parsley leaves

1/3 cup + a little more olive oil

salt & pepper

1 cup cooked, shelled edamame (we bought ours pre-cooked)

zest of one lemon + its juice

2 tablespoons capers

8-10 ounces burrata (or about 10 ounces fresh mozzerella, or just leave out the cheese if you want to go vegan)

more salt + pepper

Here’s what you do:

1.  Cook the pasta until al dente.  That means, look at the box, see what the time for al dente is, and only cook it that long.  After you toss it with all the toppings, it will soak some up and get a little softer.  Cooking al dente keeps it from getting mushy.  Once the pasta is cooked, run under cold water, put in a giant bowl, and set aside.

(NOTE:  If you bought frozen or fresh edamame that need to be cooked, now is the time.  Cook according to directions on the package.)

2.  Fry the zucchini:  Add the oil to a pan over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot (after about 3-5 minutes, test it by throwing in a zucchini round and see if it gets pretty bubbly), add the first round (of two) of zucchini to the oil.  Cook for three minutes, flip, and cook for another three minutes on the other side.  They will come out brown.  Place in a colander and allow the oil to drain, and finish with the second half of the zucchini.

3.  When all the zucchini is fried, put in a bowl, pour the red wine vinegar on top, toss, and allow it to sit.

4.  Make the basil sauce:  In a blender or food processor, combine half of the basil leaves, the parsley, the olive oil, and some salt and pepper.  Blend until smooth.

5.  Prepare the rest of the basil:  Either by hand or in the same blender or food processor, chop the remaining basil leaves.

5.  Mix the salad together:  In large bowl, add the basil sauce, the edamame, the lemon zest and juice, and the capers to the pasta.  Stir to combine.  Next, roughly chop up the zucchini (unless you are happy with the circles of squash as they are), and add them, along with any residual juices in their bowl, to the pasta.  Stir again to combine.  Next, add the burrata.  Chop up the burrata into bite-sized pieces, and add it to the pasta.  Stir and allow the creamy part to coat the noodles.  Finally, add the remaining basil, and salt and pepper to taste.  Allow to sit (on the counter or in the fridge) for about thirty minutes to let the flavors mix together.

Then grab a fork, and enjoy!


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