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I have to say – I love authentic Italian cuisine because of the way that simple, fresh ingredients are combined together into one fantastic dish! And this Tuscan Zucchini with Tomatoes, Garlic & Mint is a perfect example of that cooking approach.
Ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen – fresh zucchini, garlic, canned tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil – are all combined together.
But one ingredient – fresh mint leaves – totally transforms this simple vegetable side dish into something different and completely delicious! First the mint is added to the garlic and oil as it sautés in a pan. And an additional sprinkle of fresh mint is also added to the top as this dish is served.
The mint ads a subtle distinctive flavor that is perfect with the acidity of the tomatoes and it totally makes this dish! (We use mint in our popular Italian Tomato Sauce recipe as well – and it too is an incredible recipe!) This Tuscan Zucchini with Tomatoes, Garlic & Mint cooks up in minutes, and it is a perfect way to enjoy fresh garden zucchini.
This recipe was inspired by one we brought home from our honeymoon in Italy. Interestingly enough – that recipe used catnip which also has a unique minty flavor and is used in many Tuscan recipes. Because catnip isn’t as readily available as a culinary herb here in the United States, we used mint instead. (But if you happen to grow fresh catnip in your herb garden – give it a try! It’s delicious!)
- 4 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 3 medium to large cloves of garlic sliced thin (1 1/2 ounces to be exact)
- 12 good sized fresh mint leaves left whole, plus some chopped for garnish
- 3 medium zucchini, ends trimmed and quartered lengthwise, about one pound
- 1 14.5–ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Few grinds black pepper
- In a large COLD sauté pan, place oil, garlic and fresh mint. Turn burner to medium low and cook slowly until garlic floats and is just slightly starting to turn brown. Keep heat low and don’t overcook.
- With a slotted spoon, remove garlic and mint to a small bowl.
- Turn heat to medium and place all of the zucchini quarters in on one cut side. After about four minutes turn and cook on the other cut side for about four more minutes. The zucchini should be lightly browned and not fully cooked.
- Add the tomatoes with juice, salt, pepper and reserved garlic and mint.
- Cook for about 5-10 minutes or until the sauce thickens and the zucchini is tender.
- Serve in a platter with additional chopped fresh mint over top.
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