As much as I try to get my kids to like zucchini, they don't. The same goes for mushrooms. And unfortunately, these are two of my favorite veggies. We end up having some type of pasta dish at least once a week because it's such a quick and easy food to make. I can't remember the last time that I just cooked up pasta and tossed it with a jar of spaghetti sauce though (the jars are collecting dust in my basement pantry!). This recipe seemed pretty close though to pasta with red sauce with the added benefit of some fresh veggies. The recipe calls for the chef to crush the tomatoes with your hand in the skillet. Can I tell you how covered in tomato juice I got when the tomatoes "exploded" all over me (luckily I've learned to cook with an apron or clothes I don't care if they get dirty). I had tomato juice and seeds that squirted across the kitchen! And as I'm screaming in surprise when this happened a couple of times, my two kids who were watching television in the room next door were oblivious! Good thing I wasn't hurt or anything because they weren't coming to see what happened! I debated about omitting the red pepper flakes but in the end decided to add them. It was such a small amount that the heat didn't overpower the dish and my kids were able to eat this. It was definitely quick and easy to make but it was just a little plain for me, flavor-wise. For the kids, it was just like eating spaghetti with sauce from the jar (but it wasn't jarred sauce!) and the required one bite of zucchini.
Capellini with Spicy Zucchini-Tomato Sauce
recipe adapted from Foodnetwork Magazine
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes in puree
1 medium zucchini, cut into small chunks
1/2 pound spaghetti
Grated parmesan cheese, for topping
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is just golden, about 1 minute. Crush the tomatoes into the skillet with your hands and add the juice. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook as the label directs. Drain and add to the sauce; toss to coat. Top with parmesan.
Family Rating: 1 thumb up.