Let me count the ways I love this dish:
- It is incredibly quick and easy,
- It is bold and zesty thanks to the spicy chicken chorizo and the tangy Pecorino Romano,
- It isn’t a typical tomato- or cream-based pasta dish,
- It contains pine nuts (a heavenly food, but one to be used sparingly because of the cost), and
- It is another way to use up some of that bumper crop of zucchini (… if you’ve had your fill of Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Squares).
I made this tonight in about 20 minutes–and yes, I did add the pine nuts, but they all went into hiding at photo time. If you have a bit more chorizo than you need for this recipe, add it to a delicious egg scramble in the morning, maybe with some poblano chilies, onions, and mushrooms. Mmmm.
3-4 tbsp. olive oil
2-3 links spicy chicken chorizo, removed from casings (about 2/3-1 lb.)
1 large zucchini, diced into small cubes (about 3 cups total)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 tbsp. pine nuts
1/2 lb. spaghetti
1 tbsp. butter
1 c. Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Start preparing spaghetti according to “al dente” directions on the package (check for doneness about a minute before the minimum time listed).
2. While water is coming to a boil, cook chorizo in olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until chorizo is no longer pink, breaking up the chorizo as it cooks. Add zucchini and cook until it has softened and the chorizo is golden. Add garlic during last five minutes of cooking time. If chorizo/zucchini mixture seems dry, add a bit more olive oil.
3. Push chorizo/zucchini mixture to one side of the skillet and sprinkle pine nuts onto the cleared space; cook the pine nuts for a couple minutes or until they turn golden. Incorporate them into the chorizo/zucchini mixture. If the pasta is not yet done, turn off the heat under the chorizo mixture and keep warm.
4. Just before draining the spaghetti, remove about 1/2 c. of the cooking water (or dip a glass measuring cup right into the pasta pot); reserve the water.
5. Drain the spaghetti, toss the drained spaghetti with butter, then pour the chorizo/zucchini mixture on top of the spaghetti and mix in well. If the mixture seems a bit dry, add a small amount of pasta cooking water to moisten.
6. Mix in the Pecorino Romano cheese, add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, and serve immediately.