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Zucchini and Tortellini

I bet we all wish Trader Joe’s would open a store in Utah, and, thinking about all the liquor they sell at Trader Joe’s, I can also bet we will never have a store here.

So I shop and stock up when I can. I buy their dried tortellini with mixed cheese filling because it travels and keeps well, and is a cut above in quality over similar products found locally.

John says we have “tons” of zucchini this week. This recipe, here to make a dent in your prolific green cylinder supply, uses Trader Joe’s tortellini instead of spaghetti. It is a Deborah Madison recipe, from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Use the entire amount of olive oil—it cooks the zucchini slowly and gently. The evaporated milk is from my pantry; Deborah calls for half-and-half or milk.

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Zucchini Carpaccio

Make this zucchini carpaccio salad when your summer squash is super fresh, as in, immediately from your garden or CSA box.

Carpaccio, by definition, is an Italian non-vegetarian appetizer–thin shavings of raw beef drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice.  This vegetarian interpretation uses thin shavings of impeccably fresh squash.

Use the smaller squash, saving those biggies for something else. Cut your squash slices thinly, thin, thin, using a mandoline, or sharp knife.

Not only can you use zucchini, but pattypan and yellow squash are perfect too. If you have more than one type, arrange the different varieties, and colors in concentric circles on the platter.

If your summer squash is not super fresh–try this grilled zucchini and basil tart instead.

Make it a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and cook something seasonal and delicious!

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Zucchini Carpaccio
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins

Here's a fun vegetarian riff on the non-vegetarian classic Italian carpaccio. You can use any type of summer squash--in fact it's a very pretty presentation if you make concentric serving o 3 different varieties for 3 different colors. Slice the squash, whatever type, super thin. Makes about 4 servings.

Servings: 4 servings
Author: Letty | Letty's Kitchen
  • 4 small zucchini or other summer squash
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts raw or very lightly toasted, optional
  • 6 ounces fine quality aged Italian cheese such as Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Thinly sliced tips of 1 zucchini blossom optional
  1. Cut the zucchini into paper-thin slices. Arrange slices, overlapping slightly, on a serving platter or 4 salad plates.
  2. Cut chiffonade slivers of basil leaves, and sprinkle over the zucchini. Drizzle the olive oil and lemon juice on top. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Let stand about 10 minutes to soften the zucchini and let the flavors develop.

  3. Just before serving, sprinkle with the pine nuts and shaved cheese. If you have a squash blossom, garnish with slices of that.


Spaghetti with Beet Greens and Basil Pesto

Do you feel as if you’re overwhelmed with greens? To use up greens in one meal, make spaghetti with beet greens, or pasta with any other greens you have on hand. You will love how what seems like a huge pile of greens shrinks incredibly into this easy quick dinner of spaghetti with beet greens!

Spaghetti with Beet Greens and Basil Pesto | Letty's Kitchen

You can use other greens for this pasta, not just beet greens. The greens wilt down to manageable, edible amounts–a pound of greens cooks into just about 2 cups of tangy cooked sweetness. Trim the center rib and stem off the greens. Save both chard and beet greens, save the ribs or stems. Dice them into small pieces and sauté along with the onions. If the greens are from red beets, the cooked stems tint the pasta a pretty rose pink. Continue Reading…

The Greens of Ranui Gardens–Soup with Greens, Garlic and Orzo

Sue at PC Farmers MktBelonging to a CSA is the closest thing to having a personal veggie garden. Thanks to John and Sue and the farm crew for the work that goes into growing and picking and packaging for us. And then there is our work when we receive our weekly produce–the washing and putting away.

Epazote in water in a glass jar, covered with a plastic bag

Epazote in water in a glass jar, covered with a plastic bag

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Spinach and Goat Cheese Risotto in the Pressure Cooker

If you were to ask me what kitchen utensil I couldn’t live without—I’d say the pressure cooker.  Dinner on the table takes one-third of the time as with regular stove-top cooking. More vitamins remain in pressure cooked vegetables, and you can have creamy Italian risotto lickety-split. That’s right, in 20 minutes you can be chowing down spinach and goat cheese risotto made in the pressure cooker.

Spinach and Goat Cheese Risotto in the Pressure Cooker

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