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Pasta and zucchini

Pasta and zucchini. Does it remind you of the 80's? Well for us it’s a great classic. It provides a certain salvation when returning home from weekends outside the city, or when the fridge is emptier than our stomachs. It can be the ally to those who don’t cook very much or are new to cooking. It’s also a favourite meal for those on a calorie controlled diet. At just 13 kcal per 100 g the courgette is a versatile vegetable belonging to Cucurbitaceae. Finally, it’s a dish that is absolutely balanced from a nutritional point of view, satiating, digestible, and perfect to eat before a workout (at least one or two hours in advance). Let's work hard to achieve a simple, but perfect result, and let's adopt a couple of variations to move from a simple to gourmet dish.
The first step is of course in the choice of ingredients: the zucchini, must be very fresh, if not new, so as to have a firm and sweet pulp, alongside the last asparagus of the season. These should be crisp, green and with the tip in perfect condition, and the spring on. The latter, which contains more sugar than the onion, has a more aromatic and delicate flavour and caramelizes better in the pan: undoubtedly the beginning of a good seasoning with vegetables. Once the onion has been gently fried over a low heat, it must be semi-transparent and fragrant.
The second step is to cut the vegetables. It might seem obvious, but correct cutting ensures a better result. The courgette in particular, has a soft flesh which tends to be easily discarded. It is fundamental to respect the natural crunchiness of the vegetables by giving the pieces intended for the sauce a regular size, neither too small nor too large, to cook briefly and in a uniform shape. The same applies to asparagus, which we can brown directly in the pan without precooking in boiling water, in order to maintain all its organoleptic and nutritional properties.

How to cook vegetables and zucchini?

The right cooking of the vegetables is fast, but not too aggressive with heat: therefore using a moderate flame, a pinch of salt that allows the vegetables to gradually release their water, and a drizzle of oil are the essential elements. Note that adding other liquids to speed up the process can give a "boiled" effect, spoiling the consistency and diluting the flavours. Keep in mind that the zucchini contains 94% water and the asparagus 91%. Finally, let's not forget that starch - and not oil! - is the best ally of a well whipped pasta. Drain the dough very al dente and finish cooking together with the vegetables with a drop of boiling water to ensure a creamy dish that is well cooked without the need to add more fat, to the delight of the palate and the waistline.
Finally, the aromas: organic lemon zest and freshly grated ginger to finish off, give a touch of acidity, which is inevitable in any successful recipe that is respected to complement the other vitamins and other beneficial substances. In particular, 10-30 grams of ginger can: improve digestion and blood circulation, accelerate metabolism, act as a painkiller and antinausea, support immune defences, keep at bay blood sugar levels and the accumulation of bad cholesterol. The final touch is basil which is perfectly combined with zucchini and its special essential oils, which the alchemists of antiquity even thought could positively influence mind and spirit and immediately bring joy, as if by magic. And how can we not believe them? After all, "life is a combination of magic and pasta", the words of Federico Fellini.

Ingredients for 4 people
80g pasta per person
2 courgettes
500g asparagus
1 spring onion
fresh basil to taste
fresh ginger to taste
40ml of extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
pepper to taste

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