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Zephyr Zucchini with Opal Basil, Pine Nuts, and Parmigiano-Reggiano

This Mediterranean recipe serves 4 people.

Deborah Madison designed this recipe for a new variety of summer squash that caught her eye. “Slender, pale yellow, and tipped in pale green, Zephyr zucchini are far too pretty to chop,” she writes in her book Local Flavors. “Instead, halve them lengthwise to retain their pretty markings, cook, then shower them with purple basil, freshly grated Parmesan, and pine nuts—the elements of pesto but brought together in the mouth rather than the mortar. The plum-colored opal basil is especially gorgeous here. Of course you can use other basils—or summer squashes for that matter—to make this dish. Regardless of varieties used, this is easy, attractive, and very good.”

1 pound or more Zephyr or other zucchini, 6 to 8 inches long
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
10 large opal basil leaves, torn

1. Slice the squash in half lengthwise, then steam or simmer in salted water until tender. Meanwhile, toast pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until golden (about 2 minutes).

2. When the squash is done, arrange it on a platter, cut side up. Drizzle olive oil over it and season with salt and pepper. Grate a veil of cheese over the squash, add the pine nuts and basil, and serve.

From Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets by Deborah Madison, published by Broadway Books, a division of Random House Inc.

Watch for new stories every Thursday in Live & Learn, NRTA's publication for the AARP educator community: Celebrating learning as a creative lifestyle.

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