I won’t say the pesto dollop (center) makes for the most appetizing visual presentation, but aside from that small detail, this one turned out to be an astonishingly tasty meal. We happily inherited a bushel of zucchini from my brother- and sister-in-law over the weekend. But beyond the usual suspects (zucchini bread, zucchini tempura, zucchini stir fry), I wanted to try something different, something I hadn’t tried before. I picked up a mandolin on Monday. Guess I’d been putting that off: mandolins are such a knifey contraption they incite every blade fear I’ve ever had. In fact, I think I may have cut myself writing that sentence.
With the mandolin properly calibrated to slice long, narrow strips from whatever is pressed across its surface, I set to running the zucchini (6-7 inch segments, unpeeled) against the blades 10-12 times or until the airy, seedy middle started to show. Three large zucchini later, I had a pile of “noodles.” Those went in the boiling water for one minute, 15 seconds, then strained, then shocked in cold water. Perfect. Spaghetti (er, zuccghetti? spaghini?) has never tasted this light, this fresh.
The photo doesn’t exude Italianicity as forcefully as Barthes’ panzani ad. Nevertheless, food’s burdens are always regional (even when they are elsewhe-regional), and with the abundance of zucchini around here this time of year, a flash-boiled pile of “noodles,” on display as above, having eaten them, connotes Michiganicity, even faintly, flavors from childhood Augusts I remember vividly or wish I could.