March 7, 2011

ZUCCHINI RIBBON PASTA


Okay,  this isn't really "pasta." Can you forgive me?

A couple of years ago the idea of making pasta out of shaved zucchini was buzzing around the food world (like the food section of the New York Times.) This was about the time doctors told me to get gluten out of our kitchen. So, any pasta that didn't involve wheat called my name. Since then, grated zucchini - usually sauteed, and topped with pesto - has gone into steady rotation at our house.

For you, I wanted to refine this simple idea a bit, give it a little flare, and here we are...

This recipe is delicious on its own, or works as side dish for grilled fish or chicken. If you want to turn the zucchini ribbons into a more substantial vegetarian meal, serve on a bed quinoa with a little additional lemon juice/olive oil vinaigrette.


INGREDIENTS
  • 4 large (or 6-8 small) zucchini
  • 1 large or 2 small lemons, juice and zest
  • 1/4 cup feta
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • 1 bunch fresh mint


Scrub lemons. Grate the zest and set aside. Slice lemon in half and remove seeds. Set aside for juicing later.

Wash, dry and trim mint leaves and set aside.

Wash zucchini. Cut off the stem and base ends. Using a mandolin, or simple vegetable peeler, cut thin strips - ribbons - of zucchini. Slice 3 or 4 strips on a side, and then rotate the zucchini and continue slicing. Then rotate again. Keep working your way around the zucchini until you get to the seedy middle. Discard the core.

Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, though not smoking, add 1/3 to 1/2 of the zucchini ribbons. Toss to coat with olive oil. Add a pinch or two of sea salt. Cover the pan for a minute or so allowing the zucchini to steam a bit. Uncover and continue to saute until tender and just cooked through - al dente. If sliced thin, the zucchini really only needs a few minutes to cook. Give a generous squeeze of lemon juice to the cooked zucchini so that the citrus can blend with the warm oil. Set aside the cooked veg as you continue to saute zucchini in batches until done. Don't worry about the zucchini cooling down, this dish should be served warm or even room-temp.

Heap zucchini ribbons onto individual plates. Sprinkle with finely crumbled feta, lemon zest, and mint leaves. Add a little more sea salt if desired, though this usually isn't necessary with the salty feta and flavorful lemon juice.

Serves 4 as a substantial side.

16 comments:

  1. More gorgeous photos - your blog is just so lovely to read!

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  2. I've found my way here by chance and was so taken with your photography that I began to read your earlier entries. You've created a beautiful spot for your readers to visit and I love the food and recipes you feature here. I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  3. Mint lemon and feta are such a fresh and great combination! We too have done zucchini ribbons and really enjoyed them.

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  4. This looks fantastic, I am now since my last post to you, very allergic to citrus (think sock monkey face). What would you use instead of lemons or any citrus? Or is there? I have tried vinegar on some things it's just ...ok. Any ideas?

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  5. So delicious looking...i made zucchini topped with cashew basil pesto. Check it out http://fridaydelights.blogspot.com/2011/03/zucchini-with-cashew-basil-pesto.html

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  6. Thanks guys for all the great comments:)

    Oli, I am so sorry to hear that you are allergic to citrus - what a bummer! Yes, my first thought is to add vinegar, if you cannot tolerate citrus. I know it isn't the same, but maybe you could experiment with different kinds of vinegar: rice, champagne, very high quality balsamic, apple cider. I think you get what you pay for with vinegar. Good luck to you:)

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  7. That sounds delicious! I also love using spaghetti squash instead of pasta. it really does have a pasta texture

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  8. Hi E,
    At the end of last summer, I was pretty much done with zucchini. My one plant kept us (over) supplied all summer long. I never thought I would say that I miss it. But I do. It's simple style is what I love and you've captured that with this dish. I've got something to look forward to!
    Hope all is well.
    Lori

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  9. Happens to drop by in your blog .. and THANK GOD for that .. love the clicks and the writings .. I am following you dear .. LOVE your blog.

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  10. Beautiful salad! Looove your photography!

    Great blog; happy I found you!

    Mary xo
    Delightful Bitefuls

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  11. I've done a similar thing with zucchini, but i've turned it into strips using a mandoline and then tossed it with pasta... because pasta is pasta and I can't get have anything replace it :-)

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  12. Sounds delicious! I've always loved lightly sauteed zucchini ribbons. Refreshingly summery yet moreish. Also have you tried carrot strips as pasta? Not sure how they did it but had some at a restaurant once with some sort of nutty creamy vegan sauce...was surprisingly amazing! Very filling as well.

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  13. Beautiful pics! so happy i discovered your blog!

    We would love it if you submitted some photos to our health food photo site: www.healthfreakfood.com

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  14. Heya¡­my very first comment on your site. ,I have been reading your blog for a while and thought I would completely pop in

    and drop a friendly note. . It is great stuff indeed. I also wanted to ask..is there a way to subscribe to your site via

    email?


    Vegetable Juicers Melbourne Australia

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  15. Just made this and it was lovely. EVEn the kids loved it.

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  16. Yummy, just made it last night. even the kids loved it.

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So good to hear from you... I appreciate each and every note you leave for me!

Thanks,
E

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