I rarely want to spend a ton of time cooking, so I have some favorite recipes that take less than 10 minutes, top to bottom. Now that's my idea of fast food. I couldn't even drive to a fast-food place quicker than that. But it's also got to be good, if not great food.
My garden gives me plenty of zuccini, so I reciprocate by creating new and faster recipes for using squashes for everything from crackers to pasta.
Here's one of my favorite zucchini dishes -- it's simple, fast, and couldn't taste better. The higher quality and fresher the ingredients are, the better it will taste. Simple dishes tend to work that way, I've noticed. Don't think of cooking this dish so much as just heating everything up, in succession (the order is really important). You'll be amazed how great it tastes. Everyone wants this recipe when they taste it.
olive oil, several tablespoons at least
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped briefly (one clove per medium zucchini)
2-3 chopped fresh tomatoes (medium)
2-3 medium zucchini, pared into "pasta" noodle strips with a paring knife or similar tool. Make the strips as thick as possible, with the skin on. I only pare down to the seedy core of the zucchini.
kosher salt, fresh pepper
handful of fresh basil, chopped
handful of parmesan, asiago, romano, or similar cheese
An easy "formula" to remember for this dish is to use one clove of garlic for one medium tomato for one medium zuccini.
Prepare everything first, because this dish cooks fast, in only a couple minutes. Heat the olive oil (low heat) and saute garlic briefly at low (don't brown), a minute or so, just enough to infuse the oil. Add chopped tomatoes, sprinkle kosher salt, and stir/let cook for another two minutes or so. The tomatos and juice soak up the garlic and oil.
Then add the strips of zucchini pasta, sprinkle kosher salt, stir a bit, and let saute for a couple minutes - the zuccini "pasta" soaks up the other juices pretty quickly. Then add the fresh basil, stir and turn off the heat. Yes, it's that fast. The zucchini cooks much faster than even regular angel hair pasta -- even after the heat is off, so be sure and not overcook it. It's better somewhat al dente, in my opinion. If you need a few minutes before serving, be sure and turn off the heat quickly, and the zuccini will soften up and all the flavors will meld together even more.
This dish is also fabulous the next day, even cold. Enjoy!
Nutrition and Health Educator
B.S. Nutrition Science