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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.

1 1/2 pounds zucchini

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 or 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk

6 ounces dried cheese-filled tortellini

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Handful basil leaves, torn into small pieces

Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Cut the zucchini in 1/2-inch lengths, and then cross-wise into 1/2-inch pieces.

In a large skillet heat the oil and the garlic together—the garlic cooks without scorching as the oil come to temperature. Add the zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Cook the zucchini over medium heat, stirring every so often, until the squash is soft and browned on some edges, 20 to 25 minutes.

When the pasta water boils, add salt and cook the tortellini until it is tender to your bite. Drain, toss with a little olive oil and set aside if it is ready before the zucchini.

When the zucchini has some golden color, add the milk and cook 7 to 10 minutes more, stirring more frequently. Toss with the pasta, cheese and basil. Season to taste with salt and more freshly ground pepper.

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Makes about 4 servings.

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