Of course, zucchini are available all over the world throughout the year. So why are my Roman friends all atwitter (in the old sense of the word) over zucchini now?
Well, there is such a thing in Italy as zucchini season – just like artichoke season, fava season, or porcini season – and in Rome it’s happening right now. This versatile vegetable, all grown up naturally on its own without the help of hothouses or other artificial agricultural measures, takes center stage at the Roman markets for at least a few more weeks.
Although I’m not in Rome now, but here in Florida, I’m remembering a dish prepared for me by a Roman chef. So in honor of him and the zucchini, I offer the following recipe.
3 T olive oil
1 # shrimp
1 large garlic clove diced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 medium zucchini, about 2 cups diced
1 1/2 cups halved grape or cherry tomatoes
1 small chili pepper (peperoncino) or red pepper flakes, to taste
Salt to taste
1 # linguine
Place large pot of water on stove to boil.
Wash, peel, and de-vein shrimp. Chop about half of the shrimp into small bits.
Combine and toss chopped shrimp, parsley, and garlic.
Place olive oil in wide bottomed skillet over medium-high heat.
Add cubed zucchini, tossing to coat.
When almost soft, add tomatoes, stir for a few minutes. Add salt.
Then add chopped shrimp, parsley and peperoncino. Cook and stir so shrimp doesn’t stick, over medium heat.
At the very end of the process, add whole shrimp, turning from side to side quickly so they don’t overcook. Check for salt.
In the meantime, add salt to pot of boiling water (adding salt to cold water slows down the boiling time), and cook linguine to al dente stage. Drain, reserving some of the pasta water.
Add linguine to sauce in skillet and stir to completely coat with sauce, adding pasta water as necessary. NOTE: Be careful to not add all the pasta immediately. You want the linguine to remain silky and not soak up all the sauce even with the addition of the pasta water.
Plate and place several whole shrimp on each portion, sprinkle with more chopped parsley, and serve.