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Video: Mark Bittman reveals creative ways to serve zucchini

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    >>> today's kitchen is brought to you by chili's new bacon avocado chicken sandwich .

    >> it's all about zucchini and ways to enjoy it. mark, welcome back.

    >> matt.

    >> zucchini doesn't get a lot of respect. it's everywhere right now.

    >> for a month or six weeks you can find it almost everywhere . it's cheap. people are trying to figure out what to do with it.

    >> you go to the store. what don't you want?

    >> generally smaller is better. these are not the best kind of zucchini but they're still useful. if they feel kind of soft you can actually scoop out the inside seeds and make good use of the outside flesh but these are --

    >> they're great.

    >> yeah, firm and crunchy when they're raw. they cook up beautifully.

    >> you're going to make barbecued zucchini and use an indoor grill.

    >> you'll make barbecue sauce which is ketchup obviously.

    >> ketchup.

    >> no cooking here. brown sugar , chili powder . powdered mustard. rice vinegar and a little bit of white wine . and just easiest way to do this -- and see these are the seeds that, in a bigger one than this if they feel soft and cottony you can cut them out but these are okay.

    >> you don't want to cut them too thin, right? especially for the grill?

    >> no, we're just cutting big wedges like this.

    >> i got the sauce done.

    >> excellent.

    >> you're going to brush that on?

    >> i don't see a --

    >> i have a brush.

    >> i would like to turn them.

    >> too brave, sorry.

    >> so brush this on --

    >> hang on a second. okay. we'll brush them on there.

    >> what you wind up with is a really nice plate of -- i mean, i think it's really unusual barbecued zucchini.

    >> serve it hot or.

    >> room temperature is great.

    >> next what are you making?

    >> this is classic pasta with zucchini and sausage. so you cook your -- it's a one pot dish, well, with the exception of bowling the pasta. took your sausage with garlic until it's brown.

    >> that will happen quickly.

    >> very quickly.

    >> we were just saying, you have to win her over.

    >> i'm not a zucchini fan.

    >> but that meat looks good.

    >> yeah, well.

    >> sausage makes everything better.

    >> well, zucchini, garlic, sausage, pasta.

    >> if you didn't want the sausage could you use another protein.

    >> bacon.

    >> bacon.

    >> you could use shrimp.

    >> here's the finished product.

    >> that looks amazing.

    >> and these.

    >> ricotta cheese and oil and lemon juice and zucchini.

    >> come on savannah, take a bite.

    >> how could you not like something that's so bland.

    >> finally for dessert sweet savory dishes and zucchini bread.

    >> that's delicious. very good.

    >> come on.

    >> thank you very much. we're back after your local news.

    >> announcer: from nbc news, this is today's take with al roker , natalie morales , and willie geist . live from studio 1 -a in

TODAY recipes
updated 8/19/2013 3:58:37 PM ET 2013-08-19T19:58:37

It's zucchini season! From farmers markets to grocery aisles — it seems that this vegetable can be found everywhere. Here, Mark Bittman shares delicious and creative ways to cook it on the grill, with pasta and more. Try his recipes for barbecued zucchini, zucchini bread and more.

Recipe: Barbecued zucchini (on this page) Recipe: Crostini with Zucchini, Ricotta and Mint (on this page) Recipe: Pasta with Sausage and Zucchini (on this page) Recipe: Zucchini bread (on this page)

© 2013 NBCNews

Recipe: Barbecued zucchini

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 pounds zucchini
  • 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons dry red wine or water
  • 1 tablespoon wine or rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire or soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Parsley, for garnish
Preparation

Heat a charcoal or gas grill; the fire should be medium-low, and the rack about 4 inches from the heat.

Stir the ketchup, red wine or water, wine or rice vinegar, Worcestershire or soy sauce, ground mustard, brown sugar, and chili powder into a paste; season with salt and pepper.

Cut zucchini into quarters lengthwise, and then once crosswise, so they are in 3-inch wedges. Brush with barbeque sauce and grill. Continue to baste zucchini as it cooks, turning once, until nicely browned and tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Garnish with parsley.

Recipe: Crostini with Zucchini, Ricotta and Mint

Ingredients
  • 1 pound zucchini
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • Toasted crostini, bruschetta, or any crusty bread
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Mint, for garnish
Preparation

Julienne the zucchini and put it in a bowl. Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice, and toss with the zucchini and ricotta. Serve on toasted, crusty bread, season with salt and pepper, and garnish with mint.

Recipe: Pasta with Sausage and Zucchini

Ingredients
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces Italian sausage, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 pounds zucchini, cubed
  • 1 pound cooked pasta
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Parsley, for garnish
Preparation

Cook the garlic and Italian sausage in olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove from the skillet and cook the zucchini until tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Return the sausage along with the cooked pasta, salt and pepper, and toss. Garnish with parsley and olive oil.

Recipe: Zucchini bread

Ingredients
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, plus butter for the pan
  • 11/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 11/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 packed cup grated zucchini
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

Mix the dry ingredients together. With a hand mixer or a whisk or in the food processor, cream the butter and beat in the eggs, then stir in the zucchini. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients just enough to combine. Gently stir in the vanilla and nuts.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until nicely browned. A toothpick inserted into the center of the bread will come out fairly clean, but because of the zucchinis this bread will remain moister than most. Do not overcook. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.

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