Linguine with Zucchini and Broccoli

January 8th, 2010 / Comments 8

Dinner was going to be breaded turkey cutlets.  Unfortunately I had run out of my favorite Italian seasoned bread crumbs and it was too cold and too late to go to the market. I put the turkey back in the fridge and rummaged around in the vegetable drawer. I found one semi-wilted zucchini and a couple of broccoli tops that needed to be used right away.

Sc plaza 01 Linguine with Zucchini and Broccoli

My head is filled with thoughts and plans for cooking in Sicily. What would a Sicilian cook make?  I had linguine, a Sicilian spice mixture, olive oil, onions, garlic, half a stale baguette, and a chunk of cheese.

I  sliced an onion while I tried to figure out how to pull things together.  The results were terrific and unlike any pasta I’ve made before.  Here’s how I did it:

Linguine with Zucchini and Broccoli

I cut one medium onion into quarter inch slices and one zucchini into quarter inch cubes while a couple of tablespoons of olive oil heated over medium heat in a large frying pan.  I  added the onions and zucchini to the hot oil and sauteed them until they had soften and begun to brown.  I turned the heat to low and added two cloves of minced garlic and one deseeded and minced  small dry red chili pepper that had traveled in my suitcase from Sicily. I stirred the pan occasionally, put a large pot of water on to boil and cut the broccoli into bite size florets.

When the water was boiling, I added two tablespoons of kosher salt and blanched the broccoli in the boiling water for a couple of minutes to set the color and to soften it a bit.  I transferred the broccoli from the water to the frying pan with a slotted spoon, added a teaspoon of the ground Sicilian spices, a tablespoon of unsalted butter, two handfuls of croutons  (created by Charles with a bread knife and the stale baguette) and a handful of chopped flat leaf parsley.

I cooked the linguine in the water that I had used to blanche the broccoli and continued to saute the vegetable/ bread mixture.  When the linguine reached  that perfect al dente state, I added it and about a third of a cup of the water from the pot to the vegetable mixture.  After a a couple of minutes of heating and stirring, I turned off the heat, sprinkled a generous handful of cheese on top and served dinner in heated bowls.

We ate in silent appreciation, delighted by the results of using what we had to make dinner.  Don’t despair. If you are out of Sicilian chilies or  spices, use what you have – dried red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, oregano, marjoram, or rosemary, Italian mixed herbs, etc.

I don’t know what kind of cheese I added. Anna and Taylor brought it when they came to visit, but it was perfect.  I’m sure that most any cheese would add to the flavor and the recipe will be exclusively yours.  If your wilted vegetable supply is different than mine, press on, take a chance and enjoy the flavor.

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Linguine with Zucchini and Broccoli List

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil heated
  • 1 garlic cloves
  • 1 small dry red chili pepper
  • 2 stalks of  broccoli
  • 2 T kosher salt
  • 1 t Sicilian spices
  • 1 T  unsalted butter
  • 2 handfuls of croutons
  • a handful of  flat leaf parsley
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