Thanks to Foodbuzz, Buitoni sent me a coupon for some of its new Buitoni Riserva Wild Mushroom Agnolotti. And they asked this: what kind of salad might one pair with this new product? Well, the Crazy Cook here is always up for a challenge. Bring it! First I considered the wild mushroom filling, spiked with parmesan. It would be a bit rich. So I considered a variety of lettuces, a variety of dressings. And then I said, “No! Not lettuce! Come on, let’s think of something more interesting!” Caesar, schmaesar. I needed something earthy, something fresh, something summery and savory that would cut through the richness of the agnolotti and lend a light, Italian touch to an easy summer dinner. And I think I nailed it. Ready?
I present to you: Zucchini Ribbon Salad. I shaved a fresh zucchini from my Harvest Moon CSA stash with a Y-peeler, threw in some halved grape tomatoes and added a shower of extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, a whisper of hearty, aged Italian balsamic vinegar (I figured the mushroom – cheese agnolotti filling would appreciate a bit of heft from the balsamic), a pinch of Maldon sea salt and a dash of fresh thyme (thyme and mushrooms are big, earthy friends) and it was DIVINE! The fresh, raw, zucchini had just enough freshness and just enough of an “al dente” texture to complement the rich (and I must say, really delicious) pasta perfectly! Victory!
As for the agnolotti, I just dropped it in gently boiling and salted water for 6 minutes, and then transferred it to a saute pan with about 2 Tbl of butter and about a Tbl of fresh thyme leaves for about a minute, and then hit it with a small but flavorful flurry of grated Parmesan.
It was easy, it was fresh and it was delicious. And who doesn’t want that on a hot summer night? Buon appetito! (And thanks, Buitoni and Foodbuzz.)