Zucchini Cacio E Pepe Pasta With Pan-Fried Oyster Mushroom

Gourmet and good for you? You bet! Recipes from Good for Your Gut by registered dietician Desiree Nielsen promote digestive health, but it’s their deliciousness that will keep you coming back to the table!

Serves 3 to 4

  • 1 (12 oz/340 g) package gluten-free pasta
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 5 tbsp avocado oil, divided
  • 1⅓ cups peeled and chopped zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
  • ¾ tsp salt, divided + more for seasoning
  • ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper + more for seasoning
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 lb (450 g) oyster mushrooms, trimmed and separated
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain in a colander, reserving at least ¼ cup of the cooking liquid. Rinse the pasta under cool running water. Return the pasta to the pot off the heat.

Heat a medium-size skillet over medium heat. When hot, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the pine nuts. Toast, stirring often, until the pine nuts are fragrant and golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the pine nuts to a small food processor (or bullet blender).

In the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the avocado oil over medium heat. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 7 minutes. If the zucchini is browning too quickly, reduce the heat to medium-low. You want the zucchini soft and golden, not crispy and brown. Season with ¼ teaspoon of the salt and some pepper. Transfer the zucchini into the food processor with the pine nuts. Wipe the pan clean.

To the food processor, add 2 tablespoons of the avocado oil, the nutritional yeast, the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and the pepper. Blend until smooth. It will be very thick at this point. Set aside.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons avocado oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and fry, shaking
the pan occasionally so they don’t stick, until golden brown and almost crisp on one side, about 4 minutes. Turn the mushrooms over and fry for 2 more minutes until golden brown. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt, more pepper and the thyme.

Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved pasta cooking liquid to the sauce. Mix together to loosen up the sauce. (I like to blend with an immersion blender.) Toss the sauce with the pasta. If the sauce looks too thick, add more pasta cooking liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing after each addition, until the sauce coats the pasta well but is not runny. To serve, divide the pasta among shallow bowls and
top with the mushrooms.

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