Pasta dishes are a staple in my home, but when Baltimore turns hot and steamy, I don't do much pasta. Last week we had a night of super storms and so I couldn't cook on my grill, and the indoors seemed so inviting. I'd been craving pasta, but every hot night I thought to do it, I just couldn't bare to do it. Being inside the cool air conditioning with the dark storm clouds rolling in, seemed like the opportune time for making it!
I had just picked an abundance of beautiful squash and zucchini straight from my garden, and couldn't NOT call this harvest pasta! There is something so satisfying about growing your own vegetables and herbs, and when you sit down to a meal you really feel a part of the process. I've decided to include a few pictures of what I picked last week and the biggest zucchini I've ever grown (to date).
This was a simple dish to create, and it came together with very few ingredients in about 45 minutes.
For the sauce:
2 large zucchini, diced medium
1 28 oz can of San Marzano Tomatoes ***, drained of most of the liquid, hand crushed
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced fine
1/4 c good quality olive oil
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 c fresh sweet basil, chopped roughly
(*** Cooks note: When making a tomato sauce, especially with fresh ingredients from your backyard or farmers market, I encourage you to use only San Marzano tomatoes (which are more expensive, but can be found in your local grocery store) as they are considered by most chefs and Italian cooks to be the best sauce tomato in the world. Although they look similar to a Roma tomato, the flesh is much thicker with fewer seeds, and the taste is much stronger, more sweet and less acidic. ***)
In a large sauce pan heat olive oil over med-high heat. Add squash, zucchini and onion and saute for 5-7 minutes until vegetables are beginning to get soft. (Add a pinch or two of salt to the mix as it cooks). Add garlic, and saute another 2 minutes. Continue adding salt and pepper to taste, in layers, as you cook. Add tomatoes and reserved liquid and stir to combine. Simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes (stir sauce every 10 minutes) or until sauce is thickened and flavors are combined.
For the chicken:
4 thin sliced chicken cutlets
1 c flour
1 c panko bread crumbs
1 tsp basil and oregano, chopped very fine
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and butter and allow butter to melt with olive oil. Place flour, egg and crumbs into separate bowls. Add herbs to breadcrumbs and stir to blend. Season both sides of cutlets with salt and pepper. In assembly line fashion, dredge chicken through flour, dip into egg and roll into breadcrumbs. Add chicken to heated frying pan and cook for about 5 minutes, or until brown. Flip cutlet and cook additional 3 minutes. Keep cutlets warm in 250 *F warm oven until dish is ready.
Prepare pasta of your choice according to package directions, less one minute. Add drained pasta to sauce, with basil, and stir over medium heat, mixing well, for about 1 minute.
Heap pasta onto dish and top with panko chicken.