Let’s add another recipe to the “zucchini files,” Scratchin’ It’s data bank of recipes that will help you use the proliferate squash. Today, we’ll use zucchini to make something that resembles pasta. It won’t be pasta, it’ll just look a bit like it and be used as a base for a quick and easy light dish that’s perfect for days like today (as we made this for lunch, the mercury was headed north of 105°F) when you don’t want to be laden down with a belly full of heavy pasta.
We just made this up for a quick lunch, but it’s vaguely based on an appetizer we had at a restaurant here in town. In the appetizer, zucchini was cut with a spiralizer, which turned the squash into something that looked just like spaghetti. It looked so much like spaghetti, it wasn’t until we tasted it that we realized it was squash, and not pasta. We just loved the play on our eyes and tastebuds, making that dish quite fun to eat.
Not much, right. As we said, we wanted this quick and easy, so, when we looked in the refrigerator and saw the jar of dukkah, we knew we had the main flavoring. Now, you can make your own dukkah, or you could just change this up with something a bit different, perhaps just a dusting of Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes (we were out of Parmesan, or we might have done that). The only thing that we’d recommend is that you might want to keep it light, so it can pair with the zucchini “pasta.”
Procedure in detail:
Slice zucchini. If we had a spiralizer, we would have used that and made something that resembled spaghetti. However, we don’t, but we figured we could make something shaped like pappardelle using nothing more than a vegetable peeler. We ran the peeler along the outside of the squash, trying to make wide ribbons, to look like pappardelle, and, when we got down to the core, we stopped, as the seeds started to shred the zucchini into pieces. If we had another use for the core we would have saved it; instead, we cut it into thin rounds just to use it up. Hindsight being better than foresight, we think we would have prefered saving the core for another use.
Boil. Bring a large kettle of salted water to a boil. Zucchini is bland, and it won’t gain flavor being sliced like pasta, so use a heavy hand with the salt. For a normal batch of pasta, we use about 1/2-3/4 tablespoon for 2 quarts of water. For zucchini pasta, we doubled that, and think that we could have even tripled it. Once boiling, add the zucchini and cook for only a minute, not much longer, or you’ll have zucchini mush.
Drain. Thoroughly drain the zucchini pasta in a colander. If you didn’t cook it too long, you shouldn’t have a problem giving a few good shakes to get out that excess water.
Top and serve. Divide the “pasta” into bowls, top with the dukkah, cashews, and tomatoes, and serve immediately.
For a fast and easy lunch, we think this was pretty good, albeit a bit on the bland side. We had to hit ours up with a bit more salt, and probably should have added a touch of red pepper flake. But even though it was bland, we liked using zucchini this way. It uses a lot of zucchini all at once, plus, when boiled, it loses a lot of the water so the zucchini isn’t soggy, but is more like pasta. We’ll give this dish three stars, but will keep in mind the technique for other summer dishes.