Zuc­chini is deli­cious on its own. Sim­ply grill and serve as a side with a driz­zle of olive oil. Add a shake or two of salt and pep­per. Zuc­chini per­fec­tion.

That’s one rea­son­able way to approach this pro­lific sum­mer veg­etable when we have only a cou­ple of these lit­tle green ras­cals to con­tem­plate.

Since the beloved squash is so com­pat­i­ble with other fresh pro­duce items (toma­toes, egg­plant, mush­rooms, etc.) we’ve learned to marry it in dishes like rata­touille, frit­tatas and soups.

The case for Ital­ian squash abun­dance needs con­sid­er­a­tion. Between home gar­dens, farm­ers mar­kets and local farm pro­duc­tion, the mar­ket gets sat­u­rated with late sum­mer zuc­chini.

Good then that inven­tive­ness is hard at work on the zuc­chini project. A bumper squash crop inspires swap outs in dishes that typ­i­cally call for higher carb ingre­di­ents like pasta, rice, tor­tillas and breads.

Its easy to reimag­ine spaghetti Bolog­nese using spi­ral­ized squash noo­dles rather than tra­di­tional pasta. Lasagna is also fit for a swap using long, flat rib­bons of zuc­chini to layer the other ingre­di­ents.

Cau­li­flower rice has made its splash in food cir­cles. Zuc­chini rice is a newer up and comer. The abil­ity to take on fla­vor pro­files of pro­duce part­ners like herbs, shal­lots, and gar­lic makes zuc­chini rice a viable con­tender.

Beyond trad­ing squash for pasta and rice, more rogue zuc­chini ideas are hit­ting food sites and mag­a­zines.

Taco shells and pizza crusts that rely on grated squash are trend­ing. Eggs and grated cheese are used to bind the veg­etable mix­ture. Baked in the shape of a round shell or crust, these pli­able forms are ready to take on healthy top­pings.

Irre­sistible French fries get a makeover when we sub­sti­tute zuc­chini for pota­toes. Oven baked zuc­chini coins or spears could become a new indul­gence. A parme­san cheese and panko crumb coat­ing make them easy to top with mari­nara sauce or dip into a yogurt lemon sauce.

Is there any­thing Ital­ian squash can’t do? So far, chips, breads, cakes and cook­ies are on team zuc­chini. Rethink how go to recipes can be mod­i­fied using the ver­sa­tile local ingre­di­ent. Results are the thing that great cooks live to brag about.

Baked, grilled, stuffed or charred take on summer’s end in a new zuc­chini kind of way. The shape of things to come moves this A-​mazing squash up in the alphabet.

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