Welcome to Benjamin Kemper’s weekly column, the place you’ll discover our freshest, boldest cooking concepts that require only one pot, skillet, or sheet pan. Busy week? Identical right here—we’ve bought you lined with these low-effort, high-reward recipes from across the globe.    

Ever since I returned from Rome final month, there’s one dish I can’t cease interested by—and it’s not amatriciana, pizza, or rigatoni alla gricia. It’s a chilly zucchini sandwich.

In the event you’re questioning how zucchini and bread might ever trump pasta tossed with Pecorino and guanciale, right here’s your reply: scapece. Scapece shares a culinary (and etymological) lineage with escabeche and ceviche, and like Spain’s vinegar-soaked fish and game and Latin America’s citrus-marinated seafood, Neapolitan zucchine alla scapece employs acid as each taste and preservative. It’s easy, if barely messy, to organize: Deep-fry zucchini in olive oil till blistered and smooth, then soak it in a single day in a garlic-vinegar marinade. 

Proper, again to the sandwich. At a restaurant in Trastevere referred to as Ercoli, I appeared on as a cook dinner halved a heat roll and scooped it with what I now know to be zucchine alla scapece, its vinegary juices seeping into the crackly backside crust. Then she swooshed the highest with sheep’s-milk ricotta, a salty, tangy counterpoint to the wealthy and mellow olive oil. Final got here a flurry of torn mint leaves, the scent of summer time all of the sudden filling my nostrils. I ate the sandwich so quick I blacked out. After which I devoured one other. By the point I left Rome, the waiters knew my order.

Again residence, I used to be Italy-sick. I’d grown keen on the barside espressos, the fruit market within the piazza, the aggressively al dente pastas—however most of all, I missed that rattling zucchini sandwich. So I began scheming. What if I might knock out my cravings for pasta and zucchine alla scapece concurrently? That’s when it dawned on me: Zucchini. Scapece. Pasta. 

This recipe hits all of the excessive notes of Ercoli’s sandwich—the vinegar, the garlic, the dairy, the mint—and layers on different Italian elements I am keen on resembling anchovies, lemon, and crushed pink pepper. Not solely does the dish come collectively in a single pot in below an hour, it eliminates the deep-frying step of conventional scapece, so your kitchen stays splatter free. 

Zucchini scapece pasta is each forgiving (no peas, no drawback!) and adaptable. Fold in tuna, cubed prosciutto, or chopped roast rooster for further protein, or make it vegan by nixing the anchovies and swapping the dairy for pounded pine nuts or walnuts. Served chilly, drizzled with extra oil and vinegar, it makes a refreshing pasta salad. 

Till I get again to Rome, and again to that pitch-perfect sandwich, this must do.


Yield: 4

Time: 50 minutes

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra as wanted
  • 2¼ lb. small or medium zucchini (6–10), reduce into ½-in.-thick rounds
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt, plus extra to style
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½–1 tsp. tsp. crushed pink chile flakes
  • ¼ tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 anchovies
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 lb. fusilli lunghi bucati pasta, or common fusilli
  • ⅔ cup inexperienced peas (contemporary or frozen)
  • ½ cup packed finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for garnish
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped parsley leaves
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream or mascarpone cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. contemporary lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped contemporary mint leaves, plus extra for garnish
  • Freshly floor black pepper


  1. To a big, vast pot set over medium-high warmth, add the oil. When it’s shimmering and scorching, add the zucchini and 1 teaspoon of the salt, then cowl and switch the warmth to medium. Prepare dinner, stirring each two minutes or so, till smooth and browned in spots, about 12 minutes. Utilizing a slotted spoon, switch to a paper-towel-lined plate. Switch about 16 zucchini slices to a small bowl and put aside.
  2. Flip the warmth to medium-low. If the pot seems to be dry, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the garlic, chile flakes, oregano, and anchovies and cook dinner, stirring constantly, till aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the zucchini on the plate, the vinegar, and the remaining salt, then flip the warmth to medium-high and cook dinner, stirring continuously, till the vinegar has diminished barely, about 3 minutes. Utilizing a potato masher, mash the zucchini till you’ve got a chunky sauce. Add the fusilli and 4¾ cups of water and convey to a boil. Flip the warmth to medium, cowl, and boil, stirring sometimes, till the pasta is nearly al dente, 7–8 minutes. (If the pot seems to be dry, add water as wanted.)
  3. Uncover and add the peas, Parmigiano, parsley, cream, lemon juice, butter, and lemon zest. Proceed to simmer, stirring continuously, till the fusilli is cooked and coated in sauce, 3–5 minutes extra. Stir within the mint and salt and black pepper to style.
  4. To serve, divide amongst 4 bowls and high evenly with the reserved zucchini slices, adopted by further Parmigiano and mint.

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