Did you know that August 8th happens to be National Zucchini Day?  In preparation for this fun food holiday we thought it might be fitting to learn a bit more about this special member of the squash family.

  • The word zucchini is derived from the Italian word zucca, which means squash.
  • Italians first brought zucchinis to the United States back in the 1920s.
  • From a botanical perspective zucchinis are considered a fruit.
  • Zucchinis consist of 95% water.
  • Zucchinis contain more potassium than bananas.
  • The most flavorful zucchinis are actually small to medium sized, so in this case, bigger is not better.
  • Not surprisingly, one of the most popular ways to eat zucchini is in zucchini bread.
  • And, drumroll please…the world’s longest zucchini measured 7 feet 10 inches long!

So, the big question is, now that we know so much about them, what do you do with the zillions of zucchinis popping up in gardens and grocery stores this time of year?  Well, crudité, soup or bread, are all great choices but how about a delicious zucchini “pasta?”  This recipe is packed with flavor and for these warm summer nights is perfect because you don’t even need to turn on the stove!

Zucchini Pasta
Serves 6-8

4 large zucchini
6 medium vine-ripened tomatoes
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoon chopped jalapeno
Freshly ground pepper
¼ cup chopped raw almonds
½ cup chopped fresh basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano

Trim and peel the zucchini. Use a vegetable peeler or mandolin to thinly slice in long wide ribbons. Stop when you reach the seeds.

Cut the zucchini ribbons into strips so they resemble fettuccine.

Transfer the zucchini to a colander and toss with 1 teaspoon of salt.  Allow to drain in the sink for approximately 30 minutes; then rinse well and pat dry.

In the meanwhile, puree two tomatoes with the olive oil, garlic, jalapeno, and black pepper in a food processor or blender. Transfer to a bowl. Chop the rest of the tomatoes, place in the bowl and add the almonds, basil and oregano.  Add salt to taste.

Place the zucchini in bowls, top with tomato sauce and serve.  (If you wish you can add a bit more olive oil and/or chopped almonds.)


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