Rice Noodles With Zucchini, Tomatoes and Fresh Mint
Zucchini remains in the farmers’ markets into the fall. Even if you can’t find fresh tomatoes, you can make this easy pasta with canned tomatoes. The days may be cooler now, but the dish will remind you of summer.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 to 2 garlic cloves (to taste), minced
- 1 pound zucchini, cut in 1/4-inch dice
- 1 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded* and cut in 1/4-inch dice, or 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, partially drained
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 7 to 8 ounces thin rice sticks
- 3 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino or crumbled feta (optional)
* To seed the tomatoes, cut the tomatoes in half along the equator, place a strainer over a bowl and seed the tomatoes into the strainer. Rub the gelatinous seed pods against the strainer to extract flavorful juice, and discard the seeds.
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, place the rice sticks in a large bowl, and cover with hot water. Let sit 20 minutes, until pliable. Drain and cut the noodles in half, into roughly 6- to 8-inch lengths, with kitchen scissors.
2. While the rice sticks are soaking, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a wide, heavy skillet, and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds, and add the zucchini. Cook, stirring, until the zucchini begins to soften and the skin becomes bright green, about three minutes. Add the tomatoes with juice and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring often, for 6 to 10 minutes until the zucchini is tender and the tomatoes have begun to break down. Remove from the heat, taste and adjust seasonings, and set aside.
3. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the rice sticks. Boil one minute and drain. Toss with the zucchini and tomato mixture, the remaining olive oil and the mint. Serve, passing the cheese for people to sprinkle on at the table.
Yield: Serves four.
Advance preparation: The zucchini-tomato mixture can be cooked several hours ahead and reheated. If it seems dry, add a little pasta cooking water. The soaked noodles will keep for three or four days in the refrigerator.
Nutritional information per serving: 289 calories; 7 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 49 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams dietary fiber (7 grams if using brown rice noodles); 17 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during preparation); 6 grams protein