Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Zucchini Butter Spaghetti -- #recipe by @LeslieBudewitz

LESLIE BUDEWITZ:  I’m a big fan of Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen blog and cookbooks. For the most part, her recipes are real-life cooking—food that can be made in an average kitchen by an average cook, feeding people who don’t always love everything you love. Not, as a friend says, too “cheffy.” And the pictures are gorgeous.

I’m also a big fan of simple pasta dishes, especially those with veggies in them. Perelman traces this back to a Julia Child recipe she adapted and simplified—as she says, zucchini really doesn’t need to be salted, drained, and pampered, and olive oil is great but this is BUTTER Zucchini.

Now, I didn’t stir mine so vigorously that it basically became zucchini pesto like she did, but you could. Next time. Because once you make this, I can just about guarantee there will be a next time. 

Zucchini Butter Spaghetti

8 ounces spaghetti 

1 cup pasta water, reserved

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/4 pounds zucchini, trimmed, coarsely grated (roughly two medium zucchini) 

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more taste

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste

a few twists of fresh ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

fresh basil leaves, sliced into thin ribbons

Cook spaghetti in well-salted water until it’s 1 minute shy of fully cooked. Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water. Drain pasta. 

Melt butter in the empty pot over medium heat and add the garlic, stirring it into the butter for one minute. Add the zucchini (including any water that’s accumulated in the bowl as the grated zucchini waited for you), salt, red pepper, and black pepper. Cook the zucchini, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes. The liquid the zucchini gives off will cook off. If the mixture begins to brown, reduce the heat slightly. Stir frequently for 2 more minutes, breaking the mixture down with the edge of your spoon or spatula, until it reaches that pesto-like consistency.

Pour in 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water and stir well, scraping any stuck bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the drained pasta, and cook for 2 minutes, reheating the pasta. Use tongs or two forks to pull up the zucchini butter sauce into the pasta strands, tossing frequently, and adding some or all of the remaining pasta water as needed to loosen. Adjust the seasonings to taste. 

Toss in half of the Parmesan and basil and stir, then transfer to a serving bowl. Finish with remaining Parmesan and basil.

Serves 4.

Enjoy this buttery taste of summer!  

From the cover of BITTERROOT LAKE, written as Alicia Beckman (April 2021 from Crooked Lane Books in hardcover, ebook, and audio): 

When four women separated by tragedy reunite at a lakeside Montana lodge, murder forces them to confront everything they thought they knew about the terrifying accident that tore them apart, in Agatha Award-winning author Alicia Beckman's suspense debut.

Twenty-five years ago, during a celebratory weekend at historic Whitetail Lodge, Sarah McCaskill had a vision. A dream. A nightmare. When a young man was killed, Sarah's guilt over having ignored the warning in her dreams devastated her. Her friendships with her closest friends, and her sister, fell apart as she worked to build a new life in a new city. But she never stopped loving Whitetail Lodge on the shores of Bitterroot Lake.

Now that she's a young widow, her mother urges her to return to the lodge for healing. But when she arrives, she's greeted by an old friend--and by news of a murder that's clearly tied to that tragic day she'll never forget.

And the dreams are back, too. What dangers are they warning of this time? As Sarah and her friends dig into the history of the lodge and the McCaskill family, they uncover a legacy of secrets and make a discovery that gives a chilling new meaning to the dreams. Now, they can no longer ignore the ominous portents from the past that point to a danger more present than any of them could know.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries, and the winner of Agatha Awards in three categories. Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers' Village Mystery, won Best First Novel in 2013, following her 2011 win in Best Nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story. Watch for her first standalone suspense novel, Bitterroot Lake (written as Alicia Beckman) in April 2021 from Crooked Lane Books.

A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by her website and subscribe to her seasonal newsletter, for a chat about the writing life, what she's working on, and  what she's reading -- and a free short story. And join her on Facebook where she shares book news and giveaways from her writer friends, and talks about food, mysteries, and the things that inspire her.


  1. Sounds not only easy but oh so yummy! And anyone that has grown zucchini knows you are always looking for ways to use it.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  2. Now I want spaghetti for breakfast!

    1. One benefit of being a grownup: you can eat cookies for dinner and spaghetti for breakfast, if you want to!

  3. This sounds delicious, Leslie! And a timely recipe, too.

    1. And you could add a blossom for garnish, if you're thinking you might enough Z for a while!

  4. What a simple and yummy recipe. Thanks, Leslie!

  5. My kind of recipe. Thanks, Leslie!

  6. I found a recipe similar to this a year or so ago and it was a hit!
    Thanks for the reminder.

    1. The brain does need a poke now and then, doesn't it? Enjoy!