Pasta with Zucchini and Toasted Almonds
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar
5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated linguine
1 1/2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
3 cups chopped zucchini (about 1 pound)
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, divided
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese
3 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add 2 teaspoons oil, tossing to coat.
2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain well.
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan, swirling to coat. Add garlic to pan; sauté 30 seconds. Add zucchini; sauté 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add broth; bring to a simmer. Stir in pasta and 1 1/2 tablespoons mint; toss well. Remove from heat; stir in tomato mixture. Place 1 1/2 cups pasta mixture in each of 4 bowls; top evenly with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons mint. Sprinkle each serving with 4 teaspoons cheese and 2 teaspoons almonds.
I was getting a little nervous about this one the past couple of weeks since as the reviews were coming in online there were an awful lot of "eh" or "blech" reviews. I did change a few things. I used grape tomatoes rather than cherry, mainly because they were more cost-effective and vidalia onion since I couldn't see any shallots. I left out the mint, but used a bit of basil instead, used parmesan cheese since it's what we have, and used more almonds than called for. I also used penne pasta rather than linguine, knowing from experience that an independent-minded but less than perfectly coordinated 2-year-old and spaghetti or linguine are a great recipe for frustration all around at the dinner table. I'd say I used about 12 ounces of penne - it seemed perfectly balanced even with more pasta than called for. One big complaint in the reviews was the impossibility of stirring everything together in the frying pan. I just mixed it all together in a serving bowl, almonds included, and grated the cheese over the top of that. This was a delicious and easy summertime meal that we all loved.