Apparently there is a surplus of zucchini from the garden. Everyday more and more of the yellow and green veggies appear on the counter, and I’m constantly scrambling for new ways to cook them. Thankfully a few years ago, Jamie Oliver, of recent West Virginia diet fame, came out with a book and tv series called Jamie at Home. In it, Oliver extolled the virtues of growing your own veggies and some of his favorite ways to cook them.
The section on zucchini is one of the shorter sections in the book, only three recipes long, but they are some good ones. I’ll have to save the zucchini ribbons with mackerel and the crispy zucchini flowers for later, because this is all about Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Beautiful Zucchini Carbonara.
What better place to start than with the zucchini?
In order to maintain some level of uniformity, Oliver says the zucchini should be halved and then quartered, the middle bit cut out, and then cut at an angle to resemble penne.
I think this is what he means.
Moving on, I figured it would be best to go ahead and make the sauce.
Excellent, it’s now time to unveil an ulterior motive for using this recipe. Since I received the second shipment of my acorn edition from La Quercia, I’ve been trying to find good recipes to use the pancetta.
Now it’s time to start cooking the carbonara. First, I find a large pan, put it over medium heat, and add a “good splash” of olive oil.
Yes, and then the pancetta which has been cut into chunky pieces is added to the pan.
With the pancetta nice and crispy, it’s time to add the zucchini slices.
It’s a warm and fuzzy feeling when you corrupt a good vegetable by frying it in rendered grease.
From here the idea is to cook the zucchini so that it becomes covered in that glorious pancetta oil and then fries to a slight golden color. Once that happens, it’s time to add the cooked pasta.
Yes, it’s fusilli and not penne, but I’m working with what I have.
The pasta is mixed in with the zucchini and bacony goodness and the whole pan is then removed from the heat. The cream sauce and a ladle full of pasta water is added to the pan and everything is stirred together.
It turns out quite well if you made sure to keep it off the heat and not scramble the eggs.
After serving myself a nice portion, I was floored. I’ve made carbonara before, but never with cream and pancetta like this. This really was an amazing recipe that was ameliorated by the rich and quality ingredients. It might not be the best way to eat your veggies, but it is damn sure a tasty one.