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Zucchini and Basil Carbonara

This recipe was taught to me while I was WWOOFing at L'Ape Regina in Abruzzo, Italy. The veggie garden was very small, but it did yield a couple of tender little zucchini.

The first step was to boil some salted water for cooking spaghetti. Then slice the zucchini very thin - with a mandolin if you have one. Add those to a hot sautee pan with olive oil. (you can add garlic first if you want to). Pluck some basil leaves off of their stems and throw them in the pan whole as the zucchini cooks. make sure to immediately toss them to coat in oil so they don't brown. As the zucchini becomes translucent you can shut off the heat. While you're waiting for the pasta to cook, separate two eggs, keeping the yolks for the sauce. Whisk a little half and half or milk into the yolks and set aside. Finely grate a big pile of parmesan cheese (the 15.99/lb parmigiano reggiano).

When the spaghetti is finished cooking, strain it and allow it to drain and cool slightly, perhaps by tossing gently in the colander. You are trying to get the pasta so that it is not going to cook the eggs. Throw in a couple of tablespoons of butter, the parmesan cheese, and then add the eggs as you toss the pasta. Once it is all combined, taste for salt and pepper - add accordingly, and serve! with another flourish of chopped basil if you wish.

Note: Actually, at Marino's place he used the yolks of hard boiled eggs, mashed with a fork into a few tablespoons of butter and then that was added to the pasta to thicken the olive oil, basil, zucchini sauce. Both methods work and are delicious. If you are going to hard-boil eggs anyway - do a couple extra for this recipe.

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