Posts tagged ‘zucchini’

Summer vegetable orzo

Our freezer always has tons of little odds and ends that I couldn’t bear to throw out. Problem is, I often forget what’s in there or can’t figure out a use for it, like the five or so egg yolks that were leftover from some baking project. Finally, though, the three tablespoons of pesto (from a batch I made at the height of summer), got put to good use in this vegetable orzo. With red pepper, tomatoes, zucchini and fresh mozzarella, it captures the flavors of summer, just as we head into fall.

Summer Vegetable Orzo, adapted from epicurious

8 ounces orzo (about 1 1/3 cups)
5 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, divided
2 medium zucchini or summer squash (about 9 ounces total), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 red or yellow bell pepper, quartered
3 tablespoons pesto
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 heirloom tomatoes (8 to 10 ounces total), cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1 8-ounce ball fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Cook orzo in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Transfer to large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon oil.
Whisk 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon vinegar in small bowl. Brush zucchini and bell pepper with oil mixture, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Whisk pesto, lime juice, 3 1/2 tablespoons oil, and 2 tablespoons vinegar in small bowl for pesto vinaigrette.
Broil zucchini and bell pepper until crisptender, about 8 minutes per side (Alternatively, these can be grilled). Transfer to work surface and let cool. Chop zucchini and bell pepper; add to bowl with orzo. Add vinaigrette, tomatoes, sliced basil, and mozzarella; toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve cold or at room temperature.


September 23, 2008 at 8:45 pm Leave a comment

Clean out the fridge pasta

Law school has started and every student group is having its initial meetings this week. To get us there, organizers promise free food, which means that over two days I’ve eaten pizza three times. Right now I feel like I’d be happy if I never had pizza from a cardboard box again. So tonight I was determined to come home and cook a real meal. We had all sorts of random stuff that I wanted to use up, so I found a pasta recipe that would cover the bacon, cheese and sour cream we had on hand. To that I added zucchini, tomato, a shallot and some spices. It was like an amped-up macaroni and cheese, and it was delicious! I’m already looking forward to lunch tomorrow.

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

6 slices bacon
1 shallot, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium zucchini, cubed in 1/2-inch pieces
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 box (14.5-16 oz.) elbow noodles

1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup white wine or chicken broth
3/4 cup grated monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp parsley

Cook pasta according to package directions. Cook bacon in large skillet until crispy. Remove to plate lined with paper towels and drain. Remove some grease from skillet to leave about 1-2 tbl. Saute shallots and garlic briefly, then add zucchini. Saute about 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in tomatoes and remove from heat. Cover to keep warm.
To make sauce, combine sour cream, butter, wine or broth and spices and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and whisk in cheeses until smooth. Toss together pasta and vegetables, then toss with sauce.

September 11, 2008 at 10:23 pm Leave a comment

Zucchini lasagna

Twenty-six years ago, when my mom brought me home from the hospital, my sweet dad cooked her this lasagna. And a blueberry pie! That might have been the last pie cooked by either of them, as I can’t recall one during my lifetime (my mom is more into cakes). But the zucchini lasagna finally saw the light of day again while I was home visiting my family this week. While looking for ideas for dinner in her old recipe box, my mom found this recipe in her handwriting on a lined piece of paper, so the origin is unknown. It’s an easy way to deal with a bounty of summer squash.

Zucchini Lasagna

3/4-1 pound ground beef
1 jar tomato sauce, or about 4 cups homemade
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
4 medium zucchini
10 ounces cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown beef. Add sauce and seasonings and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. Slice zucchini lengthwise into slices 1/4 inch thick. Salt and microwave about 4 minutes, then pat dry. Arrange half of the zucchini in the bottom of a 8×12 baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Combine cottage cheese and egg and spread over zucchini. Top with half of mozzarella and half of meat sauce. Layer with remaining zucchini, mozzarella and sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until hot and bubbling and zucchini is tender. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

August 9, 2008 at 9:52 am Leave a comment


Before last summer, I’d never even heard of a dish called ratatouille. But my brother wanted to see the new Pixar cartoon (called Ratatouille, of course), so we went. It turned out to be an adorable film about a cartoon rat who wants to be a famous French chef, and ratatouille was his greatest triumph. We were in Little Rock this past weekend for a wedding, and I got to visit the fabulous farmer’s market downtown. I just picked up what looked good – squash, zucchini, tomatoes, Japanese eggplant, basil and blackberries – and later realized I had almost all the ingredients for ratatouille. I took an easier route and made a more traditional stew-like version as opposed to Remy’s finely sliced creation. We just ate it alongside bread, but it would probably be yummy over a starch, also. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t wow a French food critic, but it was good and summery nonetheless.


Click below for recipe


July 8, 2008 at 10:20 am Leave a comment

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Weekly menu

-Sesame chicken
-Black bean burgers with sweet potato fries
-Salad with hot bacon dressing and corn on the cob
-Tomato and bacon frittata