Zucchini Pasta with Almonds and Lemon Zest
– 200 grams (7 ounces) short pasta; I use spelt fusilli
– olive oil for cooking (i.e. a cheap one)
– 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
– 3 medium zucchini, about 600 grams (1 1/3 pounds), sliced into thin half-moons
– 1 scant teaspoon harissa, or other garlic chili sauce
– 40 grams (1/4 cup) skin-on almonds, roughly chopped
– the zest of 1 organic lemon, cut into fine strips (I use a zester such as this one)
– a squeeze of lemon juice from that same lemon
– a good finishing olive oil (i.e. a good one that would be wasted if cooked)
– fine sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
Bring salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the pasta, give it a stir, cover, and turn off the heat. Cook until al dente, for however minutes is recommended on the package; the water is hot enough to cook the pasta as quickly as if the water was still boiling. (This doesn’t work on all types of stoves ; see caveat above.)
While the water is heating for the pasta, start cooking the zucchini. Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute, until lightly golden. Add the zucchini and harissa, sprinkle with a little salt, and stir well to combine.
Cook uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the zucchini is softened and golden in places. Add the almonds, stir, and cook for 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat but keep warm.
A few minutes before the pasta is cooked, ladle out a little of the hot water and pour into 2 pasta bowls; this will preheat them and ensure the pasta doesn’t get cold too fast as you eat. (Don’t forget to pour out the water before serving the pasta.)
When the pasta is cooked, drain, add to the skillet, and place over low heat. Add the lemon zest, a good squeeze of lemon juice, and a glug of finishing oil. Toss to combine and divide between the two bowls. Grind some pepper on top and serve.