Summer is over, which means the season of my favorite vegetables is coming to an end.
This year the summer in the Netherlands was really long and hot and even if it’s almost October we still have so many sunny and relatively warm days, which is absurdly crazy. But I love summer so this year was perfect for me. Another positive note is that we can still find summer fruits and vegetables in the market still at the end of October.
So to finish the last of seasonal Zucchini, I did one of my favorite (and my boyfriend’s favorite too) combinations: Pasta + Mint + Zucchini + Shrimps.
We have fresh mint in our garden which is still growing strong. Mint is one of those herbs that I’d recommend to anyone who thinks they’d kill any plant. Mint is almost impossible to kill!
The combination of mint and zucchini was new to me, I probably read it in some books and decided to give it a try and then it became favorite sauce. In Italy we can use sage, rosemary and basil with our eyes closed but other herbs like mint and tarragon, we use with caution. Because it’s not part of our traditional recipes.
Mint especially, we most exclusively use it in sweets and desserts. Very rarely is used in savory dishes. Another great savory use of mint is in my Mojito Shrimp Risotto.
About the Pasta
Paccheri is a large pasta shape in the form of a tube, about 2 inches long. When cooked they will flatten due to the weight and the name Paccheri comes from the sound they make when you add them in the pan with the sauce “Pac!”, a sort of splatting sound.
Is more commonly used in the south of Italy as it goes incredibly well with seafood. A similar shape of pasta is Calamarata, which are smaller tubes that resembles the Calamari shape (hence the name).
If you cannot find Paccheri in your area, you can use any other short cut pasta, like Penne, Rigatoni, Fusilli, etc.
Paccheri Pasta with Creamy Mint Zucchini sauce and Shrimps
- 180 g (6.5 oz) Paccheri Pasta
- 200 g (7 oz) Zucchini
- 150 g (5.5 oz) Shrimps Peeled and deveined
- 50 g (1/3 cup) White Onion
- 3 large Mint leaves
- 1-2 cups Fish stock
- 1 tbsp Heavy Cream
- 1/2 Garlic clove pressed
- EVO Oil
- Chili flakes
- Few drops Lemon juice
- Black Pepper ground
- A pinch Cardamom ground
Roughly chop the onion and zucchini and sautè in a pan drizzled with olive oil for 3-4 minutes. Add salt, black pepper and fish stock and let cook for a few minutes, until the zucchini becomes tender (there should be still some liquid left in the pan).
Transfer the vegetables to a blender and add the mint leaves and the cream. Blend until creamy and smooth. Add more stock if necessary then set aside.
In the same pan where you cooked the vegetables, add more olive oil and the minced garlic and sautè at medium heat. When the garlic starts to fry, add the shrimps. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice and chili flakes and cook 3-4 minutes on each side, until lightly golden. Then set aside to keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a large pot bring to boil salted water then cook the Paccheri pasta al dente (follow the package instruction for the right timing).
Transfer the zucchini sauce back in the pan with the shrimps, then drain the cooked pasta and add it to the sauce. Sautè for 1-2 minutes to blend the flavors and serve.