Yesterday was a lovely day! The sun was shining, the weather was warm, and I felt great.
This was a crazy week. Many of my students had asked me to reschedule their lesson this week and I wound up having most of my lessons concentrated in 3 days. Thursday was particularly tasking and I ended hopping on and off trams, buses and metro trains from one part of the city to the other and back…and in the rain to make it all more pleasant.
I was so excited that hubby would be returning from a business trip in Rome, but I got home exhausted and just couldn’t muster up the energy or creativity to make a meal. I took a shower, and opened the refrigerator door, bewildered. Thankfully, I had some Eggplant Coconut Curry in the freezer, leftover from a successful experiment last week (recipe to come once photographed), so I warmed it up, steamed up some brown basmati rice and voila! The eggplant was only enough for one hungry hubby though, and since he looooves eggplant (and I need to limit my consumption of the nightshades), I left it for him. For myself, I whipped up a veggie and quinoa stirfry from the leftover quinoa in the fridge.
Leftovers to the rescue!
Due to all the rescheduled lessons this week I ended up with an impromptu day off on Friday (yesterday). Hooray for unexpected and very welcome long weekends! We rolled out of bed at 8am, and hubby decided to work from home in the morning, which was a nice treat. We had breakfast and lunch together, and while he worked in between and we didn’t have quality time together, it was nice to have him home. He spends 3-4 days in Rome every week, so any extra time at home is a bonus!
As hubby worked away, so did I, editing blog posts, reviewing and organizing recipe shots and making myself hungry in the process (no big surprise there). I opened the refrigerator and unlike the night before, I felt inspired; specifically by some fresh mint and light green Italian zucchini.
I walked into the other room and announced to hubby:
I’m getting ready to make lunch.
What are you making? he asked with an inquisitive look
Spaghetti con crema di zucchine alla menta, I replied.
Ok mangio qua, hubby said, with a smile on his face 😀
That’s typically how our conversations go, starting out in one language and ending in another. We confuse people in public. We were once asked by a German couple in a restaurant about our language swapping. They were tourists (and eavesdroppers apparently) and could understand the English parts of our conversation, but were utterly confused as we switched back and forth between English and Italian. They couldn’t figure out if we were Italian or from elsewhere. When we explained that I was Canadian and Hubby was Italian, the man exclaimed “oh Canada, it’s beautiful, I’ve been to Montréal”. Funny thing is every time I tell me people I’m Canadian, the response is always, “oh Canada, it’s beautiful…”, whether or not they’ve been there. Last week a taxi driver gave me the same response and when I asked if he had been there he said “no”.
So, back to my conversation with Hubby, for the benefit of non-Italian speakers, he had planned to grab a sandwich near the office before his afternoon meeting, but quickly changed his mind upon hearing my lunch plans.
In the kitchen, the window open, the sun shining and the warm breeze blowing I began dicing, sautéeing, blending and boiling; 20 minutes of prep work and few pictures later we were eating and hubby was exclaiming “mmmmm molto buono babe” (translation, YUMMY).
It’s simple, easy to whip up, fresh, flavourful and perfect for a spring day like this one.
This recipe served hubby and I one nice size portion each, and then two smaller second helpings. If you’re serving a typical Italian meal of antipasto, primo, secondo and dessert, this recipe is more than enough for 4 servings. But since it was our one and only course, we finished it off and licked the pan afterwards (just kidding, no licking involved, but if we had had bread in the house, we most certainly would have wiped the pan clean with it).
Spaghetti with Creamy Zucchini & Mint Sauce
Makes 2-4 servings
- 225 G of Spaghetti (I used Kamut)
- 3 Medium Light Green Zucchini
- 1/4 C + 1 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Mint
- 1/2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp Shallots, roughly chopped (1/2 a large shallot)
- 1 Clove of Garlic, pressed
- Pinch of Salt
- Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
- Bring a pot of water to boil, add coarse sea salt, stir and add pasta. Cook according to package directions until al dente.
- Meanwhile, chop mint and set aside.
- Sauté diced shallots in olive oil and a pinch of salt until transluscent, about 2-3 minutes. Add pressed garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes.
- Quarter zucchini lengthwise, and slice horizontally into small bite size triangles and add to onion and garlic mixture with 1/2 cup of water. Steam sauté for about 10 minutes until zucchini is softened.
- Remove about 1/4 cup of the zucchini mixture and set aside. Transfer the rest to a large deep dish mixing bowl or hand blender container/jar.
- Add chopped mint and purée with an immersion blender until smooth and creamy.
- Transfer zucchini & mint cream to the same pan where you sautéed the shallots, garlic and zucchini. Add 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water and heat mixture on low.
- Add strained pasta and the zucchini mixture (set aside in step 5) to the cream and toss to combine and heat through.
Serve hot and enjoy – Buon appetito!