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Image for article titled What to Cook When You Have Too Much Zucchini

Photo: Claire Lower

It’s zucchini season, and my zucc plant is going wild. The plant is prolific and the zuccs are big, which is fine, because I have several methods for getting zucchini into my mouth. Here are my favorite ways to deal with too much zucchini, should you find yourself in a similar situation.

Make an incredible pasta sauce

I rarely cook from recipes, but I follow this zucchini butter spaghetti recipe to the letter (though it does take well to riffing). The zuccs are shredded and cooked down in butter, until they reduce into a delicious mass of sweet, concentrated, slightly caramelized vegetable mush. That mush is the thinned with pasta water and tossed with spaghetti (or some other pasta), and finished with a super salty table cheese. (Pro-tip: The shaker stuff emulsifies into the sauce like a dream.)

The recipe serves two, and uses 1 1/4 pounds of zucchini, but you can always double or triple that for a crowd, or enjoy the leftovers for a few days. (Just save some pasta water to loosen it up.) Don’t have zucchini? You can make virtually the same dish with cucumbers, which sounds weird but is, in fact, very good.

Eat zucchini butter for breakfast

Image for article titled What to Cook When You Have Too Much Zucchini

Photo: Claire Lower

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the Smitten Kitchen spaghetti pasta got me really into zucchini. I liked it fine before, but cooking it down into that buttery, concentrated mush gave me a new found appreciation for what zucchini could be.

In addition to a banging pasta sauce, that mush makes a pretty incredible spread, and that spread is phenomenal on toast with a fried egg. You can also toss a handful of cherry tomatoes into the mush, which is good because cherry tomato plants do not stop once they get going.

Image for article titled What to Cook When You Have Too Much Zucchini

Photo: Claire Lower

Cook the mush until it looks like the stuff in the photo above this sentence (concentrated and almost dry), then slather it on a thick piece of toast and throw an egg on top. Finish with a sautéed zucchini blossom if you have one available.

Make the big pickle

Image for article titled What to Cook When You Have Too Much Zucchini

Photo: Claire Lower

Sometimes you don’t have a lot of zucchini, but a lot of one zucchini. If you find yourself with a huge zucc, you should use it to make a huge jar of huge pickles, much like the Vlasic Hamburger Stackers of my youth. (If your pickle is too small for your burger, you need a bigger pickle.) You can use any pickle brine you like, but I am partial to this bread & butter style pickle, which is incredible on a super salty ham sandwich.

Stuff the blossoms with leftovers

You don’t want to overdo it with culling the blossoms (because they are future zucchini, or are needed to make future zucchini, depending on the sex of the flower) but if you find yourself with a windfall of the flowers, you should stuff them with leftovers.

The blossoms are best eaten as fresh as possible (learn how to pick and store them here), but there is no one right way to stuff them. Cheese is popular, but feel free to get weird with it, as I have done before:

Leftover cheese fries are exceptionally delicious—the cheese and potato meld to form a fatty, carby mass—but you can also use fried rice, noodle dishes, mashed potatoes, whatever! All are good! Raid your fridge and chop it all up until it’s fine enough to stuff into a flower.

Stuff your stuff into the flower, then coat it with a simple batter and fry in a few inches of 350-degree oil. Serve immediately.

Make a caesar salad

Caesar dressing is a banger of a condiment, so it doesn’t make sense to let lettuce have all the fun. Don’t overthink it: Toss a pile of thinly sliced zucchini with your favorite caesar dressing, then make some frico and crumble that crispy cheese on top. Devour and repeat until you are out of zucchini.


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