You’re only one technique away from your new favorite summer pasta: caramelizing zucchini. Often people treat zucchini like it’s precious, but the squash can actually take a lot of heat. Once zucchini is cooked down, all of the water is released and it becomes a jammy, thick sauce that coats pasta like a dream. Senior food editor Chris Morocco used this method for his summer squash and basil pasta, and he describes the creamy texture of the finished sauce as “similar to a true Alfredo, without all the Parmesan.” (But you could add more cheese if you want—we won’t stop you.)
In Morocco’s recipe, the zucchini is cooked for 15-20 minutes. In his own riff, editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport likes to stew his for at least 45 minutes until it’s super caramelized. The key to getting good color on the zucchini is to cook it in batches. “If you’re doing a whole pot of zucchini, heat up olive oil, throw half the chopped squash in, and let it sear without moving,” Morocco says. “You want it to get good caramelization and flavor before you move it around.” After that, add in the second batch of squash until it gets jammy. It will look incredibly mushy, but that means you’re doing it right—it will melt right in with the pasta water and coat every noodle.
When I made the recipe, the best part was that it’s so hands-off. After lightly browning the garlic and adding the squash, you just have to stir it a few times to make sure that it doesn’t scorch. (If it starts to over-caramelize, you can add a splash of pasta water.) I cooked it for about 30 minutes over medium heat, but next time, I’d take it even further.
“You don’t recognize it as a vegetable anymore,” Rapoport says, dubbing it a “super indulgent pasta you can serve your vegetarian friends.” He likes to finish his with mint rather than basil, and also keeps his garlic cloves smashed instead of sliced so they almost roast in the pan with the zucchini. If you buy too much zucchini after hitting the farmers’ market, don’t make [bread(http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/zucchini-bread-oats)—make pasta. As if you needed an excuse.