By now I'm sure you all know that Gwyneth Paltrow has a new cookbook entitled My Father's Daughter. As a subscriber to her newsletter, GOOP, I have come to appreciate that Gwyneth Paltrow has good taste in food and has good friends who cook elaborate dinners for her, including one of my favorite chefs, Mario Batali. However I didn't know whether or not she could cook. When I came across a collection of recipes from her book in the May issue of The Dish from Food & Wine, my curiosity peaked.
I was immediately drawn to her spaghetti with crispy fried zucchini slices. I love fried zucchini and used to order it with a heaping bowl of tzatziki at Greek Islands in Greektown in Chicago. In Gwyneth's dish, zucchini slices are gently tossed in flour and delicately fried to a crisp and then piled on top of spaghetti tossed with plenty of parmesan and torn basil. She suggested passing lemon wedges at the table.
In our interpretation of the dish, we sauteed some spring onion and garlic with a pinch of red chili flakes and lemon zest, stirred in lemon juice and reserved pasta water, tossing it all with the spaghetti and cheese. We topped the pasta with crispy fried zucchini and torn basil. We loved the combination of crispy zucchini with the grated parmesan. The lemon juice and the lemon zest added a nice brightness, the spring onion and garlic add a savory and earthy component to the mild zucchini.
We poured a nice glass of pinot and enjoyed our lovely dinner!
Fried Zucchini Spaghetti (Adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow)
1 lb zucchini, thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 lb spaghetti
1 cup grated parmesan
1/2 torn basil leaves
1-2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/4 cup spring onion
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
salt and ground pepper
extra lemon wedges for the table
Toss sliced zucchini with flour and a pinch of salt. Add half of zucchini and fry over high heat, until browned and crisp turning a few times. Using a slotted spoon, transfer zucchini to a paper towel lined plate and season with salt.
Meanwhile cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.
Heat olive oil until hot, add spring onion and cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and red chili flakes and cook another minute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Return pasta to pot and toss with 1 cup of cheese, basil, drizzle with lemon juice and add 2 tbsp of reserved pasta water a little at a time, tossing well to coat. Transfer pasta to bowl and top with crispy zucchini and basil. Serve right away with lemon wedges and additional cheese.