spaghetto con zucchine fritte, timo, pecorino

Fred Plotkin is the author of this simple pasta concept. It was one of several excellent very minimal recipes that appeared in an article, ‘Pasta From the Provinces’, which I tore out of the May, 1986 issue of ‘GQ’. The magazine’s pages have frayed and torn (they were printed before many of our friends had even been born), but the recipe has not; in fact it only gets better as its competition becomes increasingly complex in this increasingly complex age.

Fred writes that the recipe came from Signora Francesca Santonocito, “ excellent Sicilian cook whose recipes I have come to know through her daughter, Luciana.” (it seems that most recipes, or at least the very best, are only restatements of ones created earlier, which were most likely themselves restatements).

I’ve made this dish a number of times, beginning inside my Broad and Water streets loft weeks after I cut it out of the magazine, but tonight, when Barry requested it, I realized we had not enjoyed it since I began writing this food blog in 2009.

Spaghetti with fried zucchini.

The only change I made to this classic last night was the addition of some fresh thyme.

  • two round zucchini from Alewife Farm (10 or 11 ounces). sliced very thinly (approximately 1//16th of an inch), sautéed, without crowding, in 2 batches, turning once, inside a very large heavy cast iron oiled pan over a relatively hot flame until they had almost caramelized, scattered with chopped thyme leaves from Stokes Farm, before the squash was joined and mixed inside its pan by 8 ounces of Afeltra Pasta di Gragnano Spaghetto from Eataly, cooked al dente, and a little of the reserved pasta cooking water (to emulsify the sauce), seasoned with freshly-ground Tellicherry pepper and arranged in 2 low bowls, some Sicilian olive oil drizzled around the edges of the pasta, and a modest amount of freshly-grated Fulvi Pecorino Romano DOP, from Eataly, distributed over the top
  • the wine throughout was an Italian (Sicily) white, Corvo Bianco 2015, from Philippe Liquors and Wines
  • the music throughout was a recording of Beethoven’s three Razumovsky [or Rasumovsky] string quartets, opus 59, performed by the Alexander String Quartet