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Author Notes: This is one of the three pasta dishes in my regular dinner rotation my sophomore year of college (my first year living in an apartment). The key to the rich sauce is the emulsion of butter, tomato juices, and pasta water. If I happened to have basil on hand, I'd add a bunch of it at the end, but it's definitely not necessary. And I'd use Parmiggiano Reggiano if I had it on hand (my parents used to bring me huge blocks of it from Costco), but it's just as good (and cheaper) with Pecorino Romano (which I sometimes prefer anyways). Easy, quick, delicious, and super cheap! —ChristineB
- 1/2 pound spaghetti
- 2 or 3 ripe plum tomatoes (you want about 1 cup of chopped tomato)
- 1 small zucchini (again, you want about a cup chopped)
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- grated Pecorino Romano or parmesan cheese, to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Meanwhile, cut zucchini into a small dice. Halve the tomatoes and de-seed them, then cut them into the same size dice as the zucchini (just leave the skin on--it saves tons of time, and I think it adds to the texture and flavor of this sauce). Mince garlic.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add tomatoes, zucchini, and garlic, and saute until the zucchini is cooked through and just barely beginning to color. Turn off the heat.
- Cook pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving about a cup of cooking water, and add the cooked pasta to the pan with the sauce. Toss it all together, adding the 2 tablespoons of butter and moistening it with the reserved pasta water. I like to let it all sit in the pan for a minute so that the pasta can absorb some of the sauce.
- Serve, topped with grated cheese.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dirt Cheap Dinner