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Zucchini and Spaghetti Team Up for Summer

Here's a recipe that uses spaghetti, zucchini and basil, and satisfies carb cravings at the same time.

It's the time of year when home gardens and farmers' markets are lush with zucchini, while back-porch pots are spilling over with basil.

Here's a recipe - Spaghetti with Zucchini - that uses both and satisfies carb cravings at the same time.

Gobs of garlic, Parmesan and highly flavored chicken broth work their wiles, and the result is an unusual pasta dinner ... lightly sauced, flavorful and economical, too.

The original recipe came from Kitchen Quickies: Great, Satisfying Meals in Minutes by Marie Caratozzolo and Joanne Abrams.

We adapted it somewhat, using herb-flavored full-strength chicken broth instead of fat-free, sodium-free (taste-free) chicken broth, and adding more than a sprinkling of Parmesan. It wasn't done "in minutes," but it came in well under 30 minutes. The dish is adaptable also. If you have "orphans" in the freezer - a few handfuls of shrimp, a lone chicken breast, a few sausages - toss them in to cook with the zucchini mixture. (But chop the chicken and sausage into bite-size pieces first.)

For a side dish, sliced tomatoes with a sprinkling of salt, pepper and feta provide a colorful contrast, or just chop tomatoes over the top of the pasta before serving.

Spaghetti with Zucchini

Ingredients:

1 pound spaghetti of choice
4 medium zucchini
2 yellow squash
2 tsp. olive oil
6 large cloves garlic, minced, or 3 tsp. jarred garlic
14 1/2-ounce can chicken broth
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup or more chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese

Preparation:

Bring a 4-quart pot of salted water to a rolling boil and cook the spaghetti.

Meanwhile, cut zucchini into 1-inch rounds and cut the rounds in half (it may seem like an overabundance of zucchini, but a pound of pasta needs a lot of help).

Put the oil in a large skillet and preheat over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, for one minute or until soft but not brown.

Add zucchini, chicken broth and pepper and mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, stir in the basil, cover and simmer for six minutes, until zucchini is soft. Add cheese slowly, stirring to make a sauce.

Drain pasta and place in a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Top with zucchini mixture. Toss to mix well. Sprinkle with more Parmesan.

Yields: 6

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