Zucchini season is upon us in California, and with it brings the perfect opportunity to try some new ways to cook and eat zucchini. After making a salad of zucchini ribbons a few weeks ago using my mandoline, I decided I wanted to explore the realm of zucchini pasta. I have a shredding disc for my food processor, but it creates short shredded pieces and I wanted to create pieces that were the full length of the zucchini. After doing some blog reading, I decided I would purchase a julienne peeler at my local Sur La Table. Not only is this tool great for making zucchini pasta, but it can be used on carrots, cucumber, mango, and would make a great tool when preparing a green papaya salad (hmmm, that gives me an idea for my next post).
Simply trim the zucchini and slice off a thin piece, lengthwise. Then press the julienne peeler into the zucchini and move down the length of the vegetable to create shreds. You can top with any sauce you like! I’m a big fan of spicy tomato sauce with chicken sausage, so that’s exactly what I did for my first round of zucchini pasta. But I think it would also go great with a little bit of pesto, cherry tomatoes and roasted broccoli. Any other ideas? Leave them in the comments section!
Zucchini Pasta with Tomatoes and Sausage (serves 2)
- 2 zucchinis, julienned
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 chicken spicy Italian chicken sausage, casing removed
- 8 Campari tomatoes, quartered
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 TB tomato paste
- sprinkle of flour
- parmesan cheese and basil for garnish
After julienning the zucchini, place pieces in a strainer and sprinkle generously with salt, tossing to coat. Let sit for about 10 minutes, then rinse and drain and squeeze out excess water using a paper towel.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil over a medium-high flame in a large nonstick skillet. Add shallots, garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for about 1 minute. Add sausage and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until sausage begins to brown. Add tomatoes and lower the heat to medium; sauté for another 5 minutes. Once the tomatoes have excreted some juices, add water and tomato paste and stir. Lower the heat to simmer and let cook for about 10 more minutes, or until the sauce has reached your desired consistency.
Coat another large non-stick skillet with a little cooking spray and heat over a medium flame. Add zucchini shreds and toss to cook, sprinkling with a little bit of flour as you sauté. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, then transfer to the sauce and toss to coat.
Serve immediately in shallow pasta bowls and garnish with basil and parmesan.
Because of the spicy red sauce this meal would go great with a Chianti, Sangiovese or Barolo – some of my favorite Italian varietals! The acidity in these wines will match up to the acidity in the sauce, and help cut the spicy flavors. You can find some good, inexpensive Italian wines at Trader Joe’s (if you’re in a state where TJ’s sells alcohol), otherwise ask your local wine shop for recommendations. I’m sure I will have many more ideas after my trip to Tuscany in less than two weeks!