I love pasta, but summer is not the season for thick red sauce or traditional alfredo sauce. I’ll be posting a few different summer-friendly pasta recipes over the next few weeks as I try different combinations of fresh veggies and herbs.

Linguine with Slow-Cooked Zucchini, Basil, and Cream

(adapted slightly from this recipe on NPR)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, cut into paper-thin slices
3-4 medium zucchini, sliced into thin coins
1 tsp kosher or fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c. heavy cream
Handful large basic leaves, chopped into strips
1 pound dried linguine (regular or your favorite gluten-free variety – mine is Ancient Harvest Quinoa Linguine)
1/2 c. fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 c. fresh grated Romano cheese

Warm the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-low heat. Stir in garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes or until garlic begin to soften. Do not let the garlic brown. Add the zucchini, salt, and a generous amount of pepper and cook slowly over medium to medium-low heat, gently tossing from time to time, for about 30 minutes or until zucchini are completely tender. The zucchini will be very soft, with some coins breaking up as they cook.

Gently stir in the cream and cook for 5 or so more minutes, or until the cream has thickened slightly. Turn off the heat and add the basil, tossing the sauce gently to incorporate. Reheat the sauce briefly when the pasta is almost done cooking.

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and salt generously. Add the pasta, stir, and cook until al dente (usually 8-10 minutes). Reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water, and drain the pasta in a colander.

Transfer the pasta to the frying pan and gently toss to incorporate the pasta and sauce thoroughly, adding a splash or two of cooking water to loosen. Add the parmigiano and romano cheeses and toss again, adding more cooking water if necessary. Top with a few fresh basil leaves, and serve immediately.

Makes 4-6 servings.