Oh my gosh, I’ve been getting my seasons so confused recently. It’s technically still Wwinter here but at the same time it’s still summer up north (which is more likely than not where you are reading from), and we keep having days here in Chile that feel like spring. Then there’s the fact that most of the recipes I’m working on for my blog and the companies I’m writing for are geared towards autumn and the holidays because people start planning these things months ahead.
Ha, and I used to think that Halloween store displays before October were pushing it. Then I’m also working on a project that won’t be published until next July, and it’s for a US company so that means it’s for summer even though it will be winter for me. I’m seriously going to lose my mind soon.
Gringa problems, ay ay ay! This my friends is what happens when you work online, primarily with the other side of the world. The dual beauty and curse that we all know as the internet.
Therefore, please forgive the fact that my recipes follow a very broad definition of “seasonal” and are entirely unpredictable. That’s why I love things like this pasta that are fairly multi-seasonal. Zucchini is a mid to late summer veggie but you can change it out with what’s in season and available to you locally. Although, we live in the age of oil that makes it very likely that you have access to fresh zucchini year-round, but if you want to add asparagus in the springtime or butternut squash in the fall then that would be awesome too.
Your typical creamy pastas are parmesan alfredo or cheddar mac n cheese, both being delish choices, but I was in the mood to change it up and use something different. And you know what, gouda sounded…..gouda (I know, and I sound super corny).
White cheeses are what’s common here because they don’t do a lot of aging to their cheeses. In fact, any of you that have been following for a while may remember the days of my blog before my fam had access to cheddar. Woe was me in those dreary days without it. How sad the world is and gray the outlook on life without cheddar! Okay sorry, but we’re talking gouda here (excuse my ADD), yes, gouda is the star of this pasta.
It’s a super easy meal to throw together and pretty economical too, for those of you searching for budget friendly meals. It makes a great weeknight dinner and we’ve already established that it works for almost every season. You can nix the meat too if you’re not feeling very carnivorous. Enjoy the rest of your Spring……. I mean Winter……no Summer…..nevermind.
- 16 ounces uncooked penne noodles
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 medium zucchini, chopped into small cubes
- 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, divided
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregeno
- 1/2 teapoon dried parsley
- 2 1/2 cup shredded gouda cheese
- 1 cup diced ham
- freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Cook the noodles according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse; set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat and add garlic and zucchini. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes until zucchini is softened, then turn off heat pour mixture into a separate dish.
- Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the still warm pan and whisk in flour until smooth, then return to medium-low heat and slowly whisk in milk until completely smooth with no lumps. Increase heat to medium and stir gently until it begins to thicken. Stir in cream, oregeno, parsley, salt, and pepper then add gouda to pan and stir until smoothly melted in.
- Reduce heat to low and add ham and zucchini/garlic mixture. Cover and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes until warmed through, then add pasta and gently mix to coat in sauce.
- Serve hot topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese if desired