Meatless Monday: Fried Zucchini Pesto Pappardelle Pasta

Fried Zucchini Pesto Pasta | windykitchen

So I have this new obsession that I’ve debated sharing with all of you because it’s sortof…lame? Embarrassing? Completely uninteresting to people born before 1975 or after 1990?

Those factors aside, I’m going to share it anyway, because if you’re uninterested in it, whatever, but if you’re interested, I’ve just made your whole life. It’s a podcast (available for free in the iTunes Store) called Go Bayside. And, as those of you born between 1975 and 1990 have probably already guessed, it is done by a comedian who invites a friend over to watch an episode of Saved By The Bell, and then they spend 30-90 minutes critically deconstructing every element of the episode.

A friend at work actually turned me on to this, and I complete agree with the way she described it. She said, “I just keep waiting for it to get old, but it doesn’t.” Exactly.

So if you love Zack, Kelly, Screech, Jessie, Slater, and Lisa — or if you think the whole gang is terrible but can still recite every episode — give it a try. And if you’re looking for an out-of-the-ordinary vegetarian dinner, see below.

Fried Zucchini Pesto Pasta | windykitchen

FRIED ZUCCHINI PESTO PAPPARDELLE PASTA (adapted from Half Baked Harvest)

1 lb dried pappardelle pasta (or other other long pasta, such as linguine or fettuccine)
2 zucchinis, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1/4 cup flour
1 large egg
2 tbsp milk
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes to taste
2-3 tbsp olive oil, for frying
1/3 cup pesto (prepared or homemade)

1. Cook pasta to al dente according to package instructions, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water. Drain and set aside.
2. While pasta cooks, prepare three pie plates or shallow dishes. Put flour in first dish; beat egg and milk together in second dish; and combine panko, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper in third dish. Coat zucchini rounds in flour, then dip in egg mixture, then in panko, pressing to adhere. Repeat with remaining zucchini rounds.
3. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, fry zucchini rounds until golden, 3-4 minutes per side. Continue with remaining rounds, adding additional oil as needed.
4. In large bowl, combine cooked pasta with pesto, adding a little reserved pasta water to reach desired consistency. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Serve pasta with fried zucchini rounds and more grated parmesan.

Fried zucchini is really tasty! This is the kind of vegetarian meal that really feels like a full entree and not just a side dish. I hadn’t ever made pappardelle pasta before, but I really liked it — it’s like linguine, only wider and much flatter (sorta like a ribbon).

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