Bucatini in Zucchini Sauce

August  2, 2012
Author Notes

A chef friend came back from Little Italy last week raving about a pasta dish that had me literally drooling as I scribbled down the description, which I turned into my version of a recipe. Then I ate the entire thing. And then I made it again. —Erin McDowell

  • Serves 2
  • 2 handfuls bucatini
  • 2 small zucchinis
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
  • reserved pasta water, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream, or more if you're feeling naughty
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • parmigianno reggiano, to taste
In This Recipe
  1. Cook the bucatini in boiling salted water until al dente, 6-8 minutes. Reserve at least 2 cups of pasta water.
  2. Grate the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the zucchini and cook over low heat until it begins to caramelize a bit, 7-9 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
  3. Add the balsamic vinegar and stir well to combine. Add a ladleful of warm pasta water and bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce until the mixture resembles a sauce, but don't reduce rapidly so as to not turn the zucchini into mush - the zucchini should still have texture, despite being part of a sauce. Add more pasta water as needed until the sauce is formed to your liking.
  4. Add the cream, and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Add the bucatini and toss well to combine. Serve garnished generously with parmesan.

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I always carry three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's pie. My first cookbook, The Fearless Baker, is out on October 24, 2017.