Until quite recently, I would pass over recipes that used squash as a stand-in for pastas. I assumed these dishes were for the low-carb dieters of the world, not for a cook with my appetite. I’m not sure what compelled me to finally give zucchini pasta a try last month, but I’m glad I finally came around.
Some recipes call for a mandoline, or a sharp knife and a steady hand, to thinly slice the zucchini. I’ve found that using a vegetable peeler to shave off thin ribbons provides consistently great results. The recipe below makes a hearty serving for one with leftover pesto. Increase the zucchini as necessary. Zucchini is also a great addition to regular pasta dishes. I like to add it to the lemon pepper pappardelle from Trader Joe’s. Just add the zucchini to the pasta water for the last minute or two of cooking and drain everything together before serving.
Zucchini “Pasta” with Parsley Almond Pesto
2 medium zucchini
2 Tbl whole almonds
1 C packed Italian parsley leaves
4 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1 small garlic clove, pressed
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano for serving
To make the pesto, I follow this recipe from Molly and Orangette.
To prepare the zucchini, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, shave off thin slices of zucchini using a vegetable peeler. When you reach the seeds in the middle of the squash, you may prefer to stop peeling and reserve the zucchini heart for a salad. I usually continue to peel and add the entire zucchini, but the texture will be slightly different, so this is a matter of preference.
Add the zucchini to the boiling water for just a minute or two. When the green of the zucchini brightens, test a piece. The zucchini should be just tender. Do not over cook. Drain and transfer to a serving dish. Toss with a tablespoon or two of the pesto and finish off with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.