Imitation Being the Highest Form

We all have food traditions – recipes that are woven into our holiday and heritage celebrations. They’ve been handed to us with instructions scratched in the margins of cookbooks, on dog-eared recipe cards, or sometimes via hands-on kitchen instruction. They have names like Elsie’s Cranberry Ice, Grandad’s Horseradish Sauce or other words that indicate the culinary lineage.

Cookbook Corner in My Kitchen

But our blogging world is also having it’s influence, isn’t it? We read and we learn from each other and we can explore cuisine across the globe in a matter of minutes. I bookmark them and “like” them and forward my favorites to others. The lovely tomato pie that I blogged from a Parisienne blogger is now featured on the menu at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY and the likes of Rukmini’s eggplant kasundi has graced my table.

The intricate food sharing system was exemplified when needing to use the last of the season’s squash, I return to a bookmarked post over at Good Food Matters. Nancy blogged her Suprisingly Wondrous Zucchini Sauce and by reading her post, I learned that her sauce was her own version of a dish done in Rome by RachelEats.

Isn’t right now the time when wonderous squash have become perfectly monstrous? I saw a blog photo where someone had strapped one into a car seat because it was, in fact, the size of a small child. This super easy sauce can be adapted any number of ways.

As you’ll see if you follow the lineage, the original was not a vegetarian dish with the addition of pancetta or bacon. Nancy eliminates that but spices it up with the addition of a zesty watercress pesto. Unless you prefer extremely mild dishes, I’d recommend something to perk it up and in our case, it was crushed red peppers.

Zucchini Sauce
adapted from Nancy who adapted from Rachel
serves 8


  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 4 Tbs butter
  • 10 cups of sliced zucchini
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs sea salt
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup water
  • crushed red pepper
  • grated pecorino to taste
  • 1 lb tagliardi pasta (I had my heart set on tagliardi but my pantry wouldn’t cooperate. As you see, I improvised with broken pieces of lasagna)

In a large stock pot, heat olive oil and butter on medium. Add zucchini and garlic. Season with salt. Stir, coating the vegetables well. Saute for 5-7 minutes, as vegetables begin to soften. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Zucchini will collapse and release its liquid—becoming “soupy.” Add water and wine, and continue cooking uncovered for another 7 minutes. Remove from heat and puree the mixture. Taste for salt.

Season Finally

In a separate large pot, cook pasta of choice according to package directions. Drain and return to pot. Spoon warm sauce over pasta, and fold throughout—gently coating the squares. Dust with crushed red peppers and pecorino to taste.

Make, modify and share!

Leave a comment


  1. I know! Sometimes it’s just a bit of variation on the seasoning of garnish or choice of pasta that can change the whole flavor of a dish. In those ways the internet has enriched even my simplest dishes. I now often top a bowl of lentil soup with a teaspoon of good balsamic vinegar and a teaspoon of sour cream. I make my old standard macaroni and cheese with cavatappi and white cheddar when I want to dress it up a bit. This sounds like a terrific sauce; thank you!

  2. Great share, Tammy.

    We love pairing zucchini with pasta . . . but I’ve never thought to puree it. I cook sliced squash in garlic oil with onions, peppers, seasonings (including crushed red pepper flakes), add fire roasted tomatoes (or not), and mix with cooked pasta.

    Oh, yeah, I never forget the freshly grated parmigianna regiano. Or the bread. 😀

  3. I LOVE the chicken painting by your cookbook alcove! It’s wonderful! And the recipe looks pretty good too. I hope there is still zucchini to be had at the next Farmer’s Market.

    • Thanks. I love it too and it has a funny story. I once took a painting class from the artist and my husband had no idea about that when he bought it.

  4. Lisa H

     /  October 2, 2012

    What a great way to use up zucchini! My favorite part of your post is how you admit to succumbing to the limitations of the pantry. At some point, we all hunt through the depths of our cabinets to find something that will work, though not necessarily what was in our original recipe. Bravo!

  5. Wow this looks delicious, with my Italian heritage I have never seen this done, but I love it! Sad that zucchini season here is over 😦

  6. Looks wonderful!

  7. Hi Tammy! I love that you have made your version of the Surprisingly Wondrous. More often it’s our pantries, not palates, that push a dish in a new direction. Adaptation rules! thank you—Nancy

  8. I’m glad I got a chance to sit down and read some of your writing again. I love this post. I am not much of a cook, but your words, especially the thoughts about the lineage of the dishes, makes me more interested in cooking, or at least finding out where some dishes originated. And your photos are awesome! Really helps to bring the whole cooking process to life on this blogging page. Thanks Tammy! And thanks for being one of my first followers to my blogs. I just wrote a post on scribbleitdown about that. Just wanted to say I really appreciate it.

  9. Beautiful sauce! I’m wishing I had a zucchini around; alas, it’s October here in New Hampshire, and they’re all gone. I, too, have been amazed and inspired by the sharing and community of the blogging world, especially around food. Our mothers and grandmothers probably shared similarly over fences and coffee. We do that too, with the added dimension of the internet. I love it. My go-to cornbread recipe (adapted, of course) comes from another blog. It’s a tattered, batter-splashed, scribbled upon printout, sticking up amongst my cookbooks now.

  10. This is great! Thanks for sharing.

  11. I agree with you. I’m always looking to blogs for inspiration and cook from blogs often xx

  12. Pamela Hamilton

     /  October 2, 2012

    What I love is that you acknowlege/pay homage to your sources. Too often items on the internet are “borrowed” (aka stolen) without attribution to the original inspiration.

    • I try to be diligent about that Pamela. By acknowledging our sources, it makes us all better.

  13. So was it surprisingly wondrous? I need a way to use some zucchini, but I’ll admit that I am skeptical.

    • To be perfectly honest, it is very mild. I think you really need to add something to build intensity. If you don’t eat meat (and I think you don’t), then I’d top with some strong pesto like Nancy did. It is very easy and you can use it in soup too.

  14. Another wonderful recipe, new for me! I really appreciate all the instructions and pictures. 🙂 Kind of like a cook by number deal . . .which I need! Thanks Tammy!

  15. Love your cookbook corner! Perfect parting words 🙂

  16. I heat you on the recipes-around-the-world blogs. Love ’em!

    And: Oh, yay! I just bought zucchini to try a recipe I saw on a blog, I’ll see about adapting it so I can try this pasta as well 🙂

  17. Broccoli is also good done this way! I would love to see the photo of the squash strapped in the car seat. Gosh, that made me smile! Thanks for all this fun on a gloomy rainy morning.

  18. MMMMMMMMM,…Zucchini’s are in the end of their season over here so I quickly have to make this tasty creation!

  19. Melissa

     /  October 3, 2012

    I have a cookbook corner in my kitchen that looks very similar to this! There are still some old standby recipes that I’ll dig out a cookbook for, but I find most of my recipes now through blogs. You’re so right about the way recipes evolve from one person’s blog to the next – I love it! And I love that you’ve traced back this recipe to see what changes were made by each person. Thank you!

    • Me too. I used to sit for hours and look through cookbooks which is actually a lovely pastime. Now, I find them here.

  20. Sounds good! We’ve made a lot of sauces that were a mixture of inspiring blog posts and inspiring stuff in the refrigerator. Thank goodness for the VitaMix – anything can become a sauce!

  21. Sounds wonderful! The food lineage is especially interesting! The Cafe at Cornell U is named after a relative of mine as is the library! How neat! Love how you tie many threads together in your posts! – Renee

    • That is so interesting about the Cornell Cafe. One of my readers has a relative who is in a program there. She sent the recipe from my blog and it was entered into a competition with the outcome being that it is now on the menu!

  22. I get so much food inspiration from other bloggers. Isn’t it wonderful!

  23. Thanks for the peek into your kitchen.
    I love your noticeboard.

    • It’s a bit messy Toke but I like having a place where I can see things that make me happy. Do you do that?

  24. Yum. This is genius. And I love seeing your house.

  1. Sandbagging | Agrigirl's Blog

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