This is recipe is from A New Way to Food by Maggie Battista © 2019 by Maggie Battista. Photographs by Kristin Teig. Reprinted in arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc.
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for pasta water and seasoning
8 ounces (227 g) semolina-flour or gluten-free spaghetti
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 small zucchini, shredded
Heat 4 quarts of water in a large pot set over medium-high heat. Once it comes to a boil, add in a big handful of sea salt (at least 3 tablespoons). Add the pasta and cook according to your pasta package directions. Cook the pasta about 1 minute less than recommended, as it will finish cooking in the sauce. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. Don’t begin making the sauce until the pasta is well on its way to done.
Heat the oil in a shallow wide pan over medium heat. Add the whole garlic cloves and sauté until the garlic is golden (but not burned) on all sides, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool. Add the pepper flakes and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the shredded zucchini and salt, and toss around in the oil until slightly wilted. Add the pasta and 2 tablespoons of pasta water, or more, if needed, to bring a whisper of a sauce together that just coats the pasta with silkiness. Thinly slice the garlic, if you like garlic, and toss it into the pasta. Sprinkle with a bit more salt, to taste, and serve immediately.
This recipe is so versatile. Here are my alterations: Add a large handful of halved juicy, ripe cherry tomatoes (or similar size) to the pan while the red pepper flakes cook. If you want something more saucy, add a half can of Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes to the mix at the same time. You might need to also add a short drizzle of honey to help cut the acidity. Tip: If you have trouble remembering to reserve that salty, starchy pasta sauce, add a measuring cup to the strainer so you don’t forget. It’s bound to catch that water for you. Top with basil from the garden or shaved parm and serve with a side salad. Can you ever have too many vegetables?