While we are back to hot and humid weather this week, it’s been kind of a weird summer in Louisville weather-wise. We’ve had a lot of rain and cooler-than-usual temperatures. The sous chef and I have been trying to take advantage of our back deck as much as possible by eating outdoors. What could be better than eating outdoors than eating outdoors with good friends who just moved into the neighborhood?
Chris and I had the good fortune to welcome two good friends into the neighborhood over July 4th weekend. We just bought a house last August and it is difficult to keep yourself well-fed while moving your life from one side of town to another. We invited our friends over for dinner on their moving day to make things a little easier on them and welcome them to the neighborhood.
After much deliberation and a trip to the Beechmont Open Air Market, I decided to use some CSA zucchini in this pasta dish. I also made quick, refrigerator pickles, garlic bread, chopped salad, and raspberry-peach crumbles. The pasta was really good and came together pretty quickly. It was not overly heavy – good for a summer evening, but filling, fresh-tasting, and seasonal. he evening was pleasantly warm, the food was great, and the company was even better. Justin and Mal – we couldn’t be happier to have you nearby (and not just just to help us with home repair issues, Justin).
“Baked Shells with Zucchini, Gouda, and Herbs” from from Faith Durand’s Not Your Mother’s Casseroles
- 1 large zucchini, grated
- 2 t. salt
- 1 lb. small or medium pasta shells
- 2/3 c. pine nuts
- 1 c. plain yogurt ( I used whole milk)
- 1 large egg, beaten
- black pepper
- 1 1/3 c. grated Gouda cheese
- small handful of flat-leaf parsley (about 1/4 c.), minced
- 2 large springs fresh mint (leaves only), minced
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a 9X 13 in. baking dish with olive oil.
- Place the grated zucchini in a bowl and stir in the salt. Set aside.
- Fill a large pot halfway with water. Salt generously (maybe 1/4 c.) and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for about 2 minutes less than recommended by the package directions. Drain, return to the cooking pot, and set aside to cool slightly.
- Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add pine nuts. Cook carefully for 2 to 4 minutes, shaking the pan to keep them from burning. Cook until golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Stir the yogurt and beaten egg together in a small bowl and season well with black pepper. Drain off as much water as possible from grated zucchini and blot dry with a paper towel.
- When pasta has cooled slightly, stir in zucchini, pine nuts, yogurt mixture, and about 1 c. of the grated Gouda cheese. Stir in parsley and mint. Spread in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top with remaining cheese.
- Bake uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes, or until cheese on top has melted and pasta is lightly golden. Serve.