Stocking up in our little grocery market at the bottom of the hill, I noted that they had some really lovely small zucchinis, still shiny and dark green. This little market has chancy vegetables - some days they are all wilted and sad, other days you can score fresh zucchinis that look just-picked from the garden. I was there on the right day.
So, I took three of them home with me, as well as two big bunches of flowers - recently, the market has been offering huge bouquets of fresh flowers at an amazingly affordable price. I have no sales resistance for beautiful flowers, having spent six years as a florist.
Anyway, with the school bus yellow sunflowers and pale pink mums decorating different corners of my house, I set to work to make a fresh pasta dish out of the zucchinis. I chopped and sautéed, simmered and tasted, and it was all good - just not stellar. So I kept adding things I found in the cupboard or on the counter and ended up using tomatoes four ways and alliums three ways.
First, I chopped an onion and minced three cloves of garlic, and sautéed them in olive oil. I had some leeks in the fridge, which had survived our absence, so I chopped two of those and added them to the allium mix, as well.
Next, I added a can of peeled tomatoes (I'm feeling lazy after our ten days of travel and tending small children). Then I had the idea to add a couple of fresh tomatoes for extra flavor. Still not satisfied with the taste, I added a big spoonful of sun dried tomatoes to ratchet up the richness. Finally, a big squeeze of tomato paste from the tube in the fridge, and that did the trick. Mixed in with the other three kinds, it added the serious tomato taste I was seeking.
A little wine, a drift of Herbes de Provence, a little time on a low flame, a drizzle of olive oil and a snowfall of parmesan grated fresh at the table and it was as tasty a vegetarian pasta as I've ever spun around my fork.