Zucchini and summer squash noodles. No flour. Just beautiful ribbons of squash, served over a flavorful and vibrant sauce. Given that I have the world of wonderfully ripe (and cheap!) farmer’s market squash in my kitchen, I’ve been trying to come up with creative new ways to use them so that 1) I don’t get tired of zucchini and 2) because being creative is far more fun than being boring. This was also a “test” for my mother. She is diabetic, and so pasta is out of the question. She never cheats on her diet. Not ever. I’ve been really proud of her for making such a change in her life for the better, and seeing such great improvement!
I had seen ideas of squash noodles circulating around the internets (yes, I call it the internets), and thought if I could create a dish using squash for the noodles, then she could eat “pasta” and enjoy to her heart’s content. It would be a really special treat for her. I get to see her in less than a couple of months, and am going to be really excited to be able to make this dish for her!
Zucchini and Summer Squash Fettuccine over Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
inspired by Danilo Alfaro’s zucchini ribbons
Ingredients (for 2 servings):
3-4 medium sized zucchini/summer squash
2 roasted red bell peppers, packed in EVOO
1 tomato, desseded
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1. Use a vegetable peeler (a mandoline would make this even easier) to peel off the outside skin, and chop off the ends of your squash. Continue peeling your squash into long strips – these will become your “noodles”.
2. Using a knife, cut each strip vertically into the desired width – for fettuccine width, I cut each strip into about 3 noodles.
3. Chop your roasted red peppers, garlic, and tomato, and add to a medium pot on med-high. Roasting red peppers is easy, and Ina has an easy set of directions to follow. I like to do this in large batches when they come into season. You can use canning techniques to preserve them too. Alternatively, you could go buy a jar of some at the store. But if you are able to make your own, they will be a lot more flavorful!
If you don’t have time to wait a few weeks and pack them in EVOO and just want to make this recipe, go ahead and roast them, peel the skins off, and then just add some EVOO into your sauce. It will work just fine that way.
4. Get a large pot of water on the stove for cooking your “noodles”, and start it going so that it will come to a boil. While that is heating up, check on your sauce. Once it is boiling, give it a stir and puree it in the food processor. Then return to the pot to keep warm while you are doing the “noodles”. If it is too watery in consistency, bring it back up to a simmer to let some of the water come off.
5. Once your big pot is boiling, add your squash noodles. Have a bowl of cold water ready, and after about 30 seconds to 1 minute (just when they are tender), transfer them to the water bowl. Usually blanching required putting them in ice water, but I didn’t want to eat completely cold noodles. After they have cooled a little bit, they are ready to serve.
6. Plate sauce first, and then add the noodles, and top with lemon zest and parsley.
Variations – Adding grated cheese is super delicious, and if you want a bit more protein in this, I think some ground meat would work very well in the red pepper sauce. I think when I make this for my mother I will add meat to the sauce. But I just wanted to try this to see if it worked. And it does!!
Photography Note: I am fully convinced now that my color issue is WordPress. Two different people suggested it was a color space issue – color space is basically how the color information in your photo is stored. In my camera there are two settings – sRGB and AdobeRGB. I had been shooting in AdobeRGB, and so tried converting the file to the other one in Photoshop, but that also resulted in muted pictures. This time I just used sRGB from the beginning to make sure it wasn’t an issue with converting from one to the other. And know what? The same problem with the red. So, I took the advice about putting my pictures up on Flickr, which is what I did here (for the ones with the red sauce). What a difference, the photo is EXACTLY like on my computer!! So the end verdict? WordPress does a crappy job at displaying color, especially red.
Other photography note – I did ZERO color editing on these photos, yes, the sauce really was BRIGHT red!!