Italian Zucchini in Butter with Romano Cheese

I wish I took a picture of this recipe. It came out really well, even though it was an off-the-cuff attempt to finish up some leftover odds and ends.

I am reading Nourishing Traditions, a cookbook of some notoriety in the Low Carb and Paleo world because of its strict adherence to natural and naturally produced foods as well as it’s co-author – Mary Eng, who is associated with the Weston A. Price Foundation and knows her fats – she actually wrote a book called ‘Know Your Fats‘, which has long been on my reading list though I haven’t gotten to it yet. The first section of Nourishing Traditions appears to be an introduction to fats, proteins and carbs, and was succinctly written and an informative pleasure to read.

One point made in this section was that both olive oil and butter are good, stable fats that tend not to go rancid nor oxidize as easily as other fats – very important by their way of thinking – but because of the type of fats in olive oil, olive oil will tend us toward weight gain more so than butter.

Is that right? I never heard that before.

While dubious of most nutrition science, no one needs to twist my arm to use butter, so I used it in this recipe where I would have normally reached for olive oil. One thing about butter is it gives off such a wonderful fragrance when cooking and blending with the other ingredients – my older daughter ran in to the kitchen and asked: “What smells so good?”

Anyway, here it is – note that any quantities are approximate – I measured nothing, increasing the chances that I’ll ruin it next time, but it was fun to make nonetheless.

  • 1 large zucchini sliced as thin as possible in a mandoline lengthwise, giving them an almost wide, flat noodle appearance
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/3 yellow onion
  • 2 slices ham
  • 1 large pinch of basil, oregano & thyme
  • 8 turns of the pepper mill
  • Salt – not too much – the romano cheese will provide plenty of salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Fresh grated real romano cheese (not the stuff in the cardboard can, though I suppose it could do in a pinch)
  • Cayenne pepper – totally unnecessary if you don’t like heat

I first melted my butter in a pan over high heat and added the chopped onion. I let that cook for about a minute then went in the zucchini. Because of the way it was cut, it’s a bit of a challenge to get all the zucchini to cook – I found my dollar-store tongs to work much better to jack-ass the zucchini around in the pan. Because the zucchini is quite thin, they quickly become more flexible, and easier to manuever in the pan. This jack-assing took about 2-3 minutes of effort before I was ready for the rest of the ingredients. I thew these in – the ham I quickly chopped into bits before adding.

Another maybe 5 minutes and all the zucchini was soft and glistening, the onions slightly browned, and the whole mixture dotted with the spices.

I put some on a plate, a small pile in the center, and placed a generous pinch of the grated romano cheese on top.

Unlike most things I cook – I thought this looked pretty darn good.

My daughter wanted a taste. I gave her a bite. After a moment, he eyes went wide, she gave a thumbs up, and grabbed a dish to make a plate for herself.

I made a dish for my wife and brought it to her. She gave me that usual wary ‘what-the-Hell-are-you-trying-to-feed-me-now’look , but it was tempered, I think, by the fact that it looked good.

Both wife and daughter ate all of what they had – I finished the rest – so I guess it makes 3 servings.

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2 thoughts on “Italian Zucchini in Butter with Romano Cheese

  1. I am a real fan of butter. In fact, I eat between two and three pounds of it a week.

    Butter supports thyroid function and contains short chain fatty acids which the body readily utilizes to meet its energy needs. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short-chain_fatty_acid

    Some people assume that butter increases heart disease risk because it is high in saturated fat. http://freetheanimal.com/2009/11/saturated-fat-and-coronary-heart-disease-part-i-introducing-professor-rod-jackson.html If they’re right, I expect I’ll have my first fatal heart attack any time now.

  2. That sounds really good!

    I wish I had a mandoline. Someday!

    One thing I found that helped when I wanted to cook a bunch of zucchini and yellow squash slices: I have a big wok. I use organic nonhydrogenated palm oil (has a nice ‘warmth’ effect but no real taste, tropicaltraditions.com, I only buy when it’s on sale) to put in it and heat it just to where it’s melted and I can swirl it around the sides. Then I turn the heat off, and by hand put the slices in the wok up the sides — it holds a ton of food, woks cook on the side as well as bottom, and it actually gets the bottom of the slices. After that side is done I just dump it together and mix it around but that starts with nearly every slice getting nicely grilled on at least one side. Takes maybe 1 minute more up front but that’s not a big deal. 🙂

    PJ

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