The Suitcase Lady


July 5, 2011, 9:28 pm

I did not buy the zucchinis. Fleet Farm had a 2 for 1 sale on seedlings in little peat pots, and the mini zucchini plants looked particularly robust. I was momentarily tempted, but I demurred.

The world is divided between those who blithely plant zucchinis and those who graciously adopt the zucchinis that the other folks grow. Since I am in the second group, I can’t upset the delicate balance by jumping sides. If I did, I would be riddled with guilt when the world sagged under mountains of uneaten, rotting zucchinis.

No one would describe zucchinis as a stand alone vegetable. They need a large cast of charismatic supporting characters such as butter, olive oil, basil, tomatoes, onions and peppers. Large quantities of sugar and spice are necessary if the squash is turned into bread.

In response to a large influx of zucchini gifts one summer, I devised an entree which we call “Pasta, Z and Cheese”. Like all casseroles, ingredients and quantities can be tinkered with extensively. The basic game plan follows:

  • 12 ounces of pasta, such as shells or penne
  • 2 or 3 medium zucchini cut into cubes
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion,diced
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 ounces blue cheese crumbles ( If you hate blue cheese, use an Italian hard cheese.)
  • 24 ounces tomato sauce
  • Basil, salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta until al dente. Cook the vegetables until barely tender remembering that zucchini quickly turns to mush. Mix all ingredients together and spoon into casserole dishes. Sprinkle with dried bread crumbs. At this point, freeze what you want for later and microwave or bake what you want for dinner. Since I don’t own a microwave, I’m sure you will figure out the time better than I. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes in a conventional oven.

One zucchini recipe is not nearly enough to handle  late summer’s zucchini gifts.  I recently read that weird ice cream flavors such as Maple-Bacon, Black Pepper, Bubblegum with Beet Juice and Black Sesame Seaweed are the rage in New York this summer. When the tide of zucchinis washes in this August, perhaps I can whip up a nice batch of Lime-Zucchini ice cream. It’s worth a try.

2 Comments for this entry

  • Sutapa Mukherjee

    Toss sliced zucchini (cut lengthwise) with olive oil, salt and pepper and grill. Easy and delicious :-)

  • Mary

    That does sound delicious! By chance you will find out on next week’s blog why this might be a challenge for us.