My love of pasta is no secret, but I’m cutting back. An article in the New York Times
covering the latest research about the benefit of low carbohydrate diets has me rethinking my noodle consumption. I won’t give them up completely but now and again I can see trying something different. Something like zucchini noodles.
For a long time I’ve wanted one of those spiralizer type tools. But they are rather expensive and I just wasn’t sure how much use I’d get out of them. There is actually an easy way to make “noodles” out of zucchini or other vegetables using a box grater. You just lay the grater on its side like a mandoline
! But I’ve just recently tried out the Microplane spiral cutter
and it’s an even better option. At $14.95 it’s a lot less expensive than some of the other tools and takes up very little space. It also has two sizes so you can shred larger or smaller vegetables.
The downside to using this gadget is that it takes some time to get used to it, and to figure out how much pressure to exert to get the thickness of noodles you like. It also leaves a little stubby core of the vegetable. But it’s relatively easy to use and clean once you get the hang of it.
I don’t like raw zucchini, but by cooking the zucchini noodles in a pan sauce, you get a lovely texture and the zucchini does seem to absorb a bit of the sauce. You can also blanch the “noodles” quickly in boiling water to take off the raw edge and then toss them with a cool sauce like pesto. I’ve only begun experimenting with zucchini noodles but I’m enjoying them so far. While not chewy, they do have a lovely slippery feel.
Zucchini Noodles with Fresh Tomato Sauce
Makes 2 servings
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1/3 cup peeled small to medium raw shrimp, optional
Trim then shred the zucchini using the large holes on a box grater
or using a “spiralizer” tool. Heat a skillet and add the olive oil. Add the tomatoes and cook gently until they begin to break down and become saucy.
Add the zucchini and garlic and cook until the sauce reduces by about half. Add the shrimp, if desired, and cook just until the shrimp are pink and cooked through, the time will vary depending upon the size of the shrimp but probably no more than a minute or so. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Disclaimer: My thanks to Microplane for providing me with the spiral cutter to test.