Monday, May 21, 2012

Lemon Spaghetti with Zucchini and Italian Sausage

It's officially summer in our house. The air conditioner is blowing and I've made my first batch of lemon spaghetti of the year.

I love lemon, but I love lemon spaghetti even more. I go back and forth between creamy or not. Tonight I decided on mildly creamy. I also changed things up, adding zucchini and vegetarian Italian sausage.

Tonight's batch included:
  • Zest of 1 lemon, the juice of 2 (medium sized)
  • Whole wheat spaghetti (8 oz dry)
  • Zucchini (large- approx. the length of the pasta), cut into long matchsticks (a mandolin makes this easy)
  • Vegetarian Italian sausage, sliced (I didn't do my own this time, so went with Fieldroast. They make a great Italian sausage, but go with what you like-- meatless or not)
  • Greek yogurt (nonfat, approx 3 oz.- you could easily use low- or full-fat)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (approx 2 tablespoons)
  • Parmesan cheese (grated)
While the pasta water boiled, I sliced the sausage into disks and placed them in a single layer on a hot skillet to cook. The zucchini was cut into long matchsticks to mimic spaghetti. I salted the pasta pot before dropping the dried pasta in to boil. With approx 2 minutes left of boiling time, I tossed in the zucchini (you could steam it separately, for less nutrient loss) and gave everything a stir.

When the pasta was al dente, I poured it all into a colander to drain, retaining about a cup of the pasta water. I squeezed the juice of 1 lemon, the yogurt, about half of the lemon zest, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper, and a couple of splashes of the pasta water to thin the yogurt and bring everything together. After giving everything a stir and giving it a taste, I wanted more lemon flavor, so I added the juice of another lemon.

I added the pasta/zucchini mixture to a warm pasta bowl, placed the sausage on top (to retain its crispiness) and garnished with fresh parsley and the remaining lemon zest. We each added a small bit of grated parmesan when on our plates.

It appeared to be hit with my husband. I thought it tasted like summer on a plate (in a good way). The fresh zucchini, parsley and lemon brought out a real brightness when combined. Appearance-wise, the zucchini tends to visibly hide among the "real" pasta (it's nearly half pasta, half zucchini), except where the skin is evident, but it lightens up the dish for the palate and the waistline. The crispy, mildly-spicy sausage brought some welcome texture, too. I'm already looking forward to leftovers.


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