It was a warm, spring day in Puglia, Italy, we were visiting my (then) soon-to-be in-laws. We were tucked into the coziest room of the house, Orsola's kitchen, all 7 of us. In any classic Italian lunch, there are several courses. Our primo was a zucchini pasta. Short backstory on my relationship with zucchini, in dating terms - we would go on a date every so often because our mothers were friends and it kind of got them off our backs if we just sucked it up and went out to dinner together. Growing up, they were on a plate that were warmish, way too buttery, definitely too mushy. Not a lot left to desire.
Back to our warm, spring day in a beautifully crowded kitchen in Southern Italy. My brain was close to exploding when I first tried Orsola's zucchini pasta. The zucchini was fragrant and tender. The ribbons of zucchini perfectly entangled with the ribbons of linguine with the perfect amount of oil. Quick and intermittent bursts of heat from crushed red peppers. Everyone finished their pasta, I imagine with less brain explosions than I had. This simply perfect plate of pasta was the standard in Orsola's kitchen - and in most kitchens across Italy. Fresh, seasonal, probably organic zucchini combined with few, thoughtful ingredients created a magical dish.
Since our trip, I don't think there has been a week that I haven't purchased or looked for a zucchini to recreate this dish.
I hope this inspires you to try to cook with something you once didn't bat an eyelash at.