Saturday, April 7, 2012

Zucchini Noodles

Had I never discovered the joy of zucchini noodles, I may never have been able to stay Paleo as pasta was a HUGE staple of my pre-Paleo diet. The following recipe will teach you how to take a zucchini and trick your mind into thinking it is eating spaghetti. Use this as a substitute for any recipe that usually takes pasta, or you could mix it into soups as well.  Try it with:

- Chicken Cacciatore
- Classic Chicken Soup
- Moroccan Meatballs
- Shrimp Fra Diavolo
- Steak Pizzaiola

You will need some sort of tool to efficiently julienne the zucchini. Doing it with a knife is waaaay too time consuming. I've used both a julienne peeler, and a mandolin slicer. The julienne peeler is probably more common for you to have in your kitchen and will take up a lot less room.

I usually julienne a minimum of 4-6 zucchini at a time to feed the both of us. To use the julienne peeler, slice off the bottom and grasp the zucchini by the stem. Run the peeler from the bottom to the stem until you reach the seeds; repeat around the entire outside of the zucchini. You can discard the seedy core because when you heat it up, this part will get fairly soggy and less noodle-y. But if you really don't want to waste it, you can go ahead and julienne it. It won't kill anybody.

slice off the bottom

A julienne peeler looks like a regular y-shaped peeler
only it has little teeth spaced out along the blade
to cut the vegetable into those thin strips

bottoms up!

To use the mandolin slicer, make sure you put on the small julienne slicing blade. Cut the stem off the zucchini and run it through the mandolin on all sides until you reach the seeds. Discard the seedy core.

Once you've finished julienning the zucchini heat some extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan or saute pan on medium-high heat. Saute the zucchini only a few minutes until evenly heated and soft enough to twirl on a fork without snapping in half. There's no need to season it if you plan on mixing it in with some kind of sauce. Don't overcook it otherwise it will be a soggy mess.* I like to serve it a bit aldente.

*Salting Method: To reduce the "wateryness" of the zucchini you can use a technique to draw the additional water out prior to cooking. Place the freshly julienned zucchini in a large collander in the sink or over a bowl and coat it liberally in salt. Allow it to sit for about half an hour and then rinse the salt off thoroughly with water. Pat dry. You may now proceed to the step above of sauteeing it.

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