q.b. stands for quanto basta which, in Italian, means "as much as is needed" or "as much as is enough"
- 8 medium zucchini, sliced into rounds of different thicknesses (between ¼ to ½ inch thick)
- q.b. coarse sea salt
- 1 Cup medium extra-virgin olive oil
- q.b. crushed Tellicherry black peppercorns
- 1 Pound durum wheat semolina spaghetti
- 1 Cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Layer the zucchini slices in a colander, seasoning each layer with a generous pinch of salt. Set aside to rest for 30 minutes, then rinse and dry the zucchini.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add a quarter of the sliced zucchini, but do not stir. Every 2 to 3 minutes, add another quarter of the zucchini. Once all the zucchini has been added, cook, gently stirring the zucchini every few minutes until the zucchini slices range in color from light gold to dark golden brown, and in texture from soft to crisp, 20 to 25 minutes. Season with pepper.
While the zucchini is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Gently add the pasta, letting it soften and submerge itself in the water. Once the pasta is submerged, give it a stir so it doesn’t stick on the bottom. After 4 minutes, taste a strand of pasta for doneness. Continue to taste a strand until the spaghetti is almost al dente, about 10 minutes.
Drain the spaghetti in a colander and immediately add to the zucchini. Sprinkle with cheese and, using tongs, gently lift and toss the spaghetti to mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the skillet to the table and serve immediately in warm pasta bowls.
Recipe excerpted with permission from Autentico by Rolando Beramendi (St Martin’s Griffin, 2017)