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Author Notes: This is just about the simplest, plainest, but somehow most satisfying meal I devised while husbanding my spouse back to health. I was told by the doctor to prepare only food "in bianco" an Italian expression meaning plain, unseasoned, non greasy food. It has remained in the repertoire even after a successful convalescence. —fhp
Serves: 6-8 serving depending on its role at the table.
medium sized zucchini (I especially like what is called the Romaneschi)
cup freshly grated parmigiano
teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
tablespoons e.v. olive oil
packet spaghetti ( I use De Cecco no. 12)
pinches salt and pepper to taste
- Put a large pot of salted water on the stove top. Leave enough room to fit in the zucchini without overflowing. You will be cooking the spaghetti in this same pot.
- Clean zucchini and let repose in water for 5 minutes. Do not cut or trim.
- When the water has come to the boil add whole zucchinis and allow to cook until very tender when poked with a fork. (poke as little as possible so that the zucchini do not become soggy) Important. Do not try to go Al Dente on this one. The zucchini must be completely cooked through. When they are tender lift them out of the boiling water with a slotted spoon and place in a large bowel.
- Put pasta into boiling water in which the zucchini have been cooked.
- Cut off both ends of the zucchinis and with two knives, one in both hands, cut the zucchinis as though you were cutting butter into flour. You should have an inconsistent mash of zucchini with some bigger pieces. Add olive oil, cheese, salt, pepper and grated nutmeg, Mix well. Taste to see if you want to add more salt or pepper.
- When pasta is about 1 minute away from being fully cooked drain into a colander placed inside your serving bowel. This warms your serving dish and allows you easy access to the pasta water of which you will need 1/2 cup.
- Put the zucchini mash back into the pasta pot with the spaghetti. Keep the flame or heat source medium high. Add some of the reserved pasta water and gently strir the pasta zucchini mixture. I usually drizzle a little olive oil at this point. The goal is to obtain a creamy consistency that is not gluey. The hot pasta water is our friend in obtaining this desired consistency. Use a little at a time. When ready empty the water from the now hot serving bowel, pour in the pasta and serve. Have some parmigiano at the table to freshly grate onto the served pasta.