Back when I was in college, I used to make something I called Chicken Nugget Pasta. It was plain ol’ pasta, dressed with butter or olive oil and topped with pieces of breaded, pan-fried chicken. It sounds like something out of the kind of cookbook that also uses Velveeta and cream of mushroom soup, but it was good, and easy, and I made it all the time.
The other night we wanted to make pasta, and I remembered Chicken Nugget Pasta. We were out of chicken, but we did have CSA zucchini. And thus Fried-Zucchini Pasta was born.
The most important skill here is the three-step breading process, something you learn your first week of culinary school. Get three bowls. Put some flour, salt, and pepper in bowl #1, beat together an egg and an equal amount of water in bowl #2, and put your breading mixture in bowl #3. Dredge the food in the flour, dunk in the egg, coat with breading, and cook.
For breading here, I used panko and fresh grated Parmesan, which adds some savory punch to the zucchini and browns really nicely. But any combination of a breadcrumb-like substance and seasonings will work.
After that, cook some pasta, dress however you want (I used some pesto I had in the freezer), and top with your fried stuff. Mmm…lowbrow goodness.