I won’t lie to you, making zucchini pasta with the spiral cutter is a task that requires patience (a virtue that I lack) and probably one or two less than spectacular outcomes. By that I mean overcooked zucchini that will lay as a limp mass on the plate and make you wonder if take-out sushi was that bad an idea after all. If you want to see the gadget I used in action (by someone who is a lot better than me at handling it), take a look at this youtube video.
Once you master the spiral cutter and how to deal with the zucchini strands, you will be on your way to a satisfying, flavorful and unique dish. After butchering a few Cucurbita pepo, I was rewarded with a beautiful bowl of veggie strands.
ZUCCHINI PASTA WITH CILANTRO-CASHEW PESTO
(adapted from Martyna’s recipe at Wholesome Cook)
for the pesto:
2 bunches fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 Serrano chile, seeded and minced
¼ cup raw cashews
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grape seed oil
½ tsp sea salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper to taste
zest of 1/2 lemon
squeeze of lemon juice
for the “pasta”:
enough zucchini to make a large bowl of strands
(save the collateral damaged ones for veggie stock, stir-fries, soups)
Make the pesto by adding the cilantro, chile, cashews, and cheese to the bowl of a food processor. Process until a paste forms. Add grape seed oil until you achieve a consistency you like. I tend to add a lot less oil than most recipes call for. Adjust to your taste. Process until smooth, season with salt, pepper, the lemon zest, and juice. Process again. Reserve.
Cook the zucchini by placing the strands in boiling water for 20 seconds, drain well, incorporate with the pesto and serve. Alternatively, you stir-fry the zucchini quickly in a small amount of olive oil, then mix with the pesto.
Sprinkle roasted cashews, and…
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: On my first attempt at making zucchini “pasta”, I overcooked the strands, which is very easy to do. The taste was still pretty good, but the poor zucchini looked almost gray. No bueno. This time, the 20-second blanching worked much better. I might even cut the cooking shorter next time. You can sauce this dish any way you like, including a marinara sauce, which was on our menu the following week, by the way. I still need to master the spiral cutter better, our kitchen looked like a crime scene when I was done, and zucchini bits were found on my hair later that evening. That’s some wild cooking prep. 😉
For those interested in gluten-free side dishes, or low carb pasta-like concoctions, this recipe fits the bill nicely. For those who simply enjoy trying a new preparation for the under-appreciated zucchini, the same applies.
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