zucchini abundance recipe of the day: penne with zucchini and fresh herbs

This is probably the easiest way to use zucchini from your garden, and if you're growing herbs, it's an excuse to use those, too. It's also one of those dishes that takes just about anything you like in pasta. I'm keeping it very simple, so as not to drown out the zucchini.

I use brown rice pasta. I originally tried it when we thought one of us was celiac, then it became habit. It's delicious and very healthy, but it does need the extra step of rinsing the cooked pasta. If you don't do that, the pasta will all stick together in a one big gluey mess... something I discovered painfully on my own. 

Also, if you use brown rice pasta, it's easier to use a "cut" pasta, like penne, rotini, or ditalini. Long pasta like spaghetti or linguini is more difficult to rinse properly. 

Pasta with Zucchini and Fresh Herbs

1/2 package of penne pasta 
1 large zucchini
a variety of fresh herbs, washed and shredded (I used basil, thyme, and cilantro)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated or shaved (Use good cheese! It makes a difference.)
salt & fresh black pepper to taste
olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Cook pasta to just under desired doneness. When it's still a bit harder than you want it, remove the pasta from the heat and pour into colander. If you're using rice pasta, rinse it well with cold water, stirring the pasta with a wooden spoon as you rinse. Drain well.

While the water is heating and the pasta is cooking, slice the zucchini lengthwise, then slice each half lengthwise again, so you have four spears. Then slice each spear, so you have triangles. 

Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Add garlic and let it cook a bit. Add zucchini and herbs. Cook for a minute or two.

Add pasta to skillet, add salt and pepper as desired, and continue cooking until the pasta and zucchini are both at desired doneness, tender but not mushy.

Spoon into pasta bowls and top with grated cheese.

One large zucchini nicely covered half a bag of pasta, for dinner for two people.

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