Ingredients for two generous servings
4 medium zucchini (about 2 pounds)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 very generous tablespoon minced garlic (4 to 5 cloves)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
2 full cups multi-colored cherry tomatoes cut in half or fourths, depending on the cherry tomato size
1/2 generous cup grated parmesan (hopefully reggiano) cheese, plus more for serving
1 full cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
salt to taste when serving.
Slice zucchini 1/16- to 1/8- inch thick lengthwise if you don’t have a spiralizer. I cut mine in half lengthwise, but cut slices in thirds lengthwise if you prefer narrower noodles, or certainly if your zucchini is mid summer large.
Add olive oil, garlic and the red pepper flakes to a large, deep skillet. Turn to medium heat. When the oil begins to bubble around the garlic, add the zucchini pasta. Toss with tongs and cook until al dente – the zucchini should be just wilted but still have a bit of crunch (5 to 6 minutes). Please do not let the raw zucchini pasta cook any longer, or it will become mushy. As it cooks, keep tossing so that all of this pasta has a chance to be on the bottom of the skillet and become coated in the garlic oil.
Stir in the chopped tomatoes, basil and parmesan cheese. Cook for no more than one minute. Turn into a pasta bowl and at this point season with salt, because salt draws water out of zucchini, which could make it soggy if added too early.
Finish with more parmesan on top and serve immediately.
Fresh zucchini keeps for a week or more in a refrigerator vegetable bin, as do cherry tomatoes. Garlic and a piece of parmesan cheese are staples in most every well-stocked kitchen, so this is a perfect nutrient-dense, unexpected company lunch or dinner dish. For the members of your family who want or need a bit of animal protein, a very thin slice or two of prosciutto di parma is a great side, with crusty French or Italian bread, a small arugula salad and of course, a healthy glass of red wine.