Sunday, October 24, 2010

Spaghetti with Zucchini & Shrimp - Pasta alle Zucchine con Gamberi

Spaghetti with Zucchini & Shrimp 1, edited

Looking for a contribution this week for Cookbook Sundays, I decided to dip into Giuliano Bugialli's "Foods of Tuscany" cookbook.  This is actually a beautiful book, one that was gifted to me some 15 years ago, and which has not been used nearly enough.  The book is a wonderful collection of old Tuscan family recipes - many are well-know favourites, and many more unusual and less widely known dishes.  The book also incorporates beautiful photos, and much interesting narrative about the cultural and cooking traditions of the Tuscan region.  I was surprised how much dust this book had gathered on my shelf, and I had forgotten just what a treasure it is - it was a thrill to revisit it and I've bookmarked several dishes to make over the coming weeks.

The recipe I want to share with you today is spaghetti served with zucchini and shrimp which are cooked in a saffron-infused broth.  The brightness of lemon, the earthiness of saffron, the warmth of garlic, and the fresh herbaceousness of parsley combine perfectly to deliver a dish which is delicate and light (nothing overpowers the delicateness of the shrimp or the zucchini);  the spaghetti, zucchini and shrimp are all in textural harmony with each other;  and even served family-style in a big bowl, this dish still has an air of elegence and luxuriousness to it.  Add to this the fact that this dish literally takes just moments to put together, and you have an absolute winner in my opinion.

Spaghetti with Zucchini and Shrimp
Adapted from Giuliano Bugialli's
 Serves 2
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe

2 small zucchini, sliced into thin discs
250g peeled shrimp
1 lemon, washed
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of saffron
1 cup chicken stock
flaky sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
250g spaghetti
1 large tomato, very ripe
flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

Put the shrimp into a bowl of cold water, and add a generous pinch of flaky sea salt.  Cut the lemon in half, squeeze out the juice, and then put both the juice and the squeezed lemon halves into the bowl with the shrimps.  Set aside to soak for 30 minutes.

Heat the chicken stock until very warm (but need not be boiling), and add the saffron strands to the hot stock to infuse.

Set a large pan of water over high heat and bring up to the boil.  Once the water comes up to a boil, salt the water liberally, add the spaghetti and cook until al dente.

Remove seeds from the tomato, and cut the flesh into small squares.  Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a skillet set over low heat and, once warm, add the garlic and saute gently for about 2 minutes, taking care not to burn it.

Add the zucchini to the pan, raise the heat to high, season with flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and saute for about 30 seconds.  Add all of the chicken stock and saffron to the pan, cover and cook for 2 minutes more.

Now remove the shrimp from their "lemon bath" and add them, along with the tomato, to the skillet.  Mix well and cook for a couple of minutes until the shrimp turn pink and are just cooked through.

Drain the spaghetti, add it to the skillet, sprinkle in a handful of chopped parsley, and mix everything together gently but thoroughly.  Serve immediately.

Spaghetti with Zucchini & Shrimp 2, edited

I'm submitting this post to Cookbook Sundays, hosted by the lovely Brenda at Brenda's Canadian Kitchen.  She's worth a visit any day of the week, but why not head over there right now and see who else has dusted off their cookbooks - you'll almost certainly find some great recipes, and maybe you'll discover a new book you'd like to add to your collection.

cookbook sundays

Interested in adding a copy of "Foods of Tuscany" to your collection - this book was published back in 1992, and does appear to be unavailable most places I looked, but Amazon seem to have both new and secondhand copies available - just click the link below.


  1. Doesn't the Italian title sound inviting? Perfect recipe for the courgettes in my veg box this week.

  2. This is my kind of pasta dish! I'm afraid to head over to Cookbook Sundays, how many is this going to make me add to my list?!

  3. Sue, this dish sounds so fresh and light and summery. Not heavy at all, I love it! Shrimp and spaghetti always go perfect together. Glad you rediscovered an old cookbook. Isn't that fun? Thank you for submitting this dish to Cookbook Sundays!

  4. What a lovely combination of flavors & colors! I love shrimp with pasta, as does the husband, so this ia a "win-win" recipe! Going to check out the cookbook, too.

  5. Makes 2 servings? My lucky day, just the right amount of us. What a beautiful dish, is any saffron used? Or is there a preference among saffron users in the know! I have yet to cook with saffron, but have a small jar I picked up at Trader Joes. Thanks.

  6. This looks so delicious and flavorful! Great combination!!

    US Masala

  7. Zucchini and shrimp makes best combination with pasta I'm IN :)

  8. What a beautiful and colorful dish! I'm always looking for different ways to enjoy shrimp and I know I would love this. Awesome job as usual, Sue!


  9. Delicious looking pasta dish. Sounds great with the zucchini and shrimp, beautiful colour too! I wouldn't mind having this for my lunch right now!

  10. Hi Sue! Just a note to let you know I've tagged you. It's your turn to share a little more about yourself and your foodie-ness with your blog readers. It's a great way to give props to some of your favorite fellow bloggers and get your name out there too. I hope you decide to play :)

    Check your trackbacks for a link or visit for the details. Drop me a line if you have any questions.

    Best in Food and Fun,

  11. Elegant, luxurious, and figure friendly. I'm in love with this one.

  12. I love rediscovering cookbooks that have been sitting on my shelf for a while. Especially when they contain treasures like this. Great pasta dish! So much tasty stuff in it.

  13. I am from Tuscany and your dish looks fab!

  14. Thanks for this post about Foods of Tuscany. That’s a mighty fine looking book, I just looked it over on Amazon as you suggested. Lately I have been getting into the Italian cooking and this recipe and book has my mouth watering!

  15. Looks delicious... love all the flavor components (especially the use of shrimp). I'll definitely be giving this pasta a try.

  16. Mmmm, what a glorious looking dish. Just the kind of food I adore. I have zucchini at home - I must try this!

  17. Hmm, I'm sure this is delicious, and it looks very quick and light.

  18. Sally - couldn't resist including the Italian name :-)

    Pam - go on and look - what's another cookbook?!

    Thanks Brenda - I love coming across a pasta dish like this which is so nice and light.

    Louanne - thanks so much - hope your husband likes it :-)

    Thank you Aparna.

    Melynda - I hope you try it. I don't know too much about saffron, but I always look for Spanish saffron - I have heard that the "saffron" available from other countries may be a bit dubious. From what I can discern, I think price is usually a good indicator of whether or not it's the real thing - if it is, it will be expensive!

    Aipi and Ananda - thank you so much for your visit and your comments. Yes it was a great combination.

    Veronica - thanks so much - this is a great way to have shrimp.

    Thanks kitchen flavours - this would make a great dish for a light lunch.

    Hi Michele - thanks for visiting.

    Carla & Michael - thank you - it's all of those things.

    Hi Joanne - I am really enjoying diving back into some of my cookbooks that I haven't looked at for a long time :-)

    Barbara - thank you so much, and thanks for visiting.

    Pierce - it's definitely a great book - I've been bookmarking a few more things to make from it in the near future.

    savory next - thanks for visiting - was definitely great flavours - I think the saffron really brings it all together.

    Koek!- thank you so much - I hope you enjoy it.

    Indie.Tea - it's totally delicious - thanks.

    Sue :-)

  19. I have tons of shrimp in the freezer. This looks like a great recipe to try. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Hi Cindy - thanks for visiting - hope you try it - its great for a quick dinner, using just a few things from the freezer and the store cupboard.
    Sue :-)


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