Growing up I adored pasta. Be it because some of my genes are Italian or I just craved it because carbs, either way I loved it whenever there was pasta. As a kid, of course, I was picky about the ways I would accept and ate it..... plain with butter or with marinara or alfredo sauce, sometimes meatballs, not touching anything else on the plate because eff that. As I got older (i.e. early 20's) I would accept some mingling of protein with pasta in the same bite and even tried and accepted pesto!
At some point in my adult life though - and only in the last handful of years - that all completely changed. The ways I grew up and loved eating it? Too plain and boring. Not adventurous or flavorful enough.
My diet habits started to greatly shift, as I was finding more and more my body couldn't and wouldn't tolerate various foods. This led me to get creative about substitutes and alternatives. Being a pasta lover, I did find quite a few brands that I like and use in place of regular pasta, but let's face it. A lot of times in the summer the last thing you want is hot and heavy, starchy grains.
So what do you do then when you're craving pasta but want something lighter to get through the heat-filled day?
Be adventurous - utilize those summer vegetables and turn them into pasta!
Zucchini is great to turn into noodles. They have a light but subtle flavor all on their own, and add a different dimension as a side to both meat and non-meat dishes.
Not too long ago I was gifted a spiralizer for the holidays. It had been on my wish list for a couple of holidays/birthdays, but never transpired yet. You have no idea how excited I was to receive it!! I've been putting off trying quite a few recipes and making adaptations to some other ones until I had a spiralizer. You can use an old-fashioned peeler but frankly I don't have the patience for it. The recipe below has instructions for how to get zucchini noodles with a regular julienne slicer or swivel peeler.
Having a spiralizer tool definitely makes things easier and cuts down on the time immensely. Bonus for when you're wanting to enjoy the weather more than being in the kitchen. There's a few variations out there of how you can best prep and serve it - being it's summer we'll go with a basic one for the time being.
1 zucchini per person
Spiralizer (or julienne slicer or swivel peeler)
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. Wash your zucchini. If you so choose, feel free to peel it.
Insert whichever shape disk you'd like to use in your spiralizer. Line up 1 zucchini with the de-seeding hole in the middle and bring the prongs to the other end. Turn the crank until you've gotten as far as you can go. Repeat for all the other zucchini's!
(If you don't have a spiralizer you can use a julienne slicer to get thin strands. Once you get to the seeds in the middle from all sides, discard that portion.)
Line a large cookie sheet with paper towels and place noodles. Sprinkle with sea salt.
"Sweat" the noodles in the oven for about 30 minutes until the paper towels have absorbed most of the zucchini moisture. Give the noodles a squeeze to extract any remaining liquid out by wrapping the paper towels over them.
The noodles will be dryer at this point but not soft. Depending on your taste preference you can leave them as is in this state and toss or top with your favorite sauce, or you can cook them further by adding them into your sauce and letting it simmer for about 15 minutes for soft noodles.
Enjoy the light, refreshing taste, and the beautiful artwork you created!