In five years of blogging, I probably mentioned this before once or twice: I am not too wild about cooking fads, and usually avoid them. For instance, that one from years ago, foams. You could not go to a restaurant that considered itself slightly upscale without foams bubbling around your plate. Then we have the more recent bacon-mania. Because 90% of humans adore bacon, all of a sudden bacon started popping up in every single culinary item. Chocolate-covered bacon? Yes, it is out there! Bacon ice cream? Why not? Well, if I have to explain it, I guess we are from different planets. And let’s not get me started on the fried egg topping everything lately. I guess this fad is still in its exponentially growing phase. Having said all that, I am heavily into the spiral cutter thing. And I insist, this is not a fad. It is a nice way to treat vegetables, easy to use, fast to prepare, and a ton of fun to eat. Zucchini is by far my favorite target, and I’ve shared one of the ways we enjoy it almost weekly, uncooked, bright and fresh. Strands of zucchini can get mushy very quickly when cooked, but now I think I hit the perfect method to deal with them.
Whole-wheat spaghetti (1/3 of your regular portion)
3 medium zucchini, ends removed, cut in a spiral cutter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced (substitute tomatoes, spinach, anything you feel like)
lemon juice and zest
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water. As the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil, saute the shallot and red bell pepper until the shallots are translucent and with a little bit of color, and the red bell pepper starts to soften. Season lightly with salt, add the zest of the lemon on top of the warm mixture, cover the pan and let it rest while you finish dealing with the pasta.
Ten seconds before the end of cooking time, add the zucchini strands to the pot. Time ten seconds and immediately drain it, reserving a little of the cooking water. Return it to the hot, empty pot, add the sautéed shallots and red bell pepper, squeeze a little lemon juice, toss it all gently, and adjust with pasta cooking water if necessary. Taste for seasoning, adding ground black pepper if you like.
to print the recipe, click here
One of the things I love about this type of recipe is that you can vary the amount of pasta in it according to your mood or goals. In the recipe I shared today, zucchini was prominent, pasta played a secondary role. The resulting meal felt light and bright. A few weeks ago, I went the opposite way, and made the zucchini stay in the background. At that time I added wilted kale and sun-dried tomatoes to the dish. It was slightly heavier, and quite appropriate for the sorry evenings ahead, when the temperature will fall below 90 F, and I will go through a few boxes of Kleenex to deal with it.
If you are over the fence about getting a spiralizer, jump to the right side, the side where I am ready to play with you. You will not regret it, especially if you have kids who are over the fence about eating their veggies. They might profess zoodles – like this tasty version from Mike’s blog – their favorite dish ever!
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