Monday, September 1, 2008

Zucchini/Yellow Squash "Pasta"

Summer is the season of good intentions. In June and early July, the list of possible places to visit, mountains to climb, and foods to try seems endless. And then, at the end of August, there's a much shorter list of places actually visited, mountains actually climbed and foods actually tasted.

Early this summer, I visited a restaurant in Estes Park that offered zucchini "pasta" as a gluten-free substitute in many of its dishes. I told myself that I should try zucchini "pasta" at home, but probably would not have ever actually gotten around to making it if it hadn't been for a recipe for zucchini "pasta" published in the New York Times Health section recently, as part of the Time's "Recipes for Health" series.

The "pasta" is made by peeling the squash into ribbons, using either a vegetable peeler or mandolin. I found that it was easiest to do this with smaller, more slender squash. The squash ribbons are then briefly sautéed in olive oil and tossed with salt and pepper. The recipe recommended serving the "pasta" with parmesan cheese and tomato sauce.

I wanted to try the "pasta" topped with pesto sauce, because that was one of the substitutions available at the restaurant I visited earlier this summer. However, because I wasn't sure how the "pasta" would turn out, I made sure that I had some wheat noodles on hand, as well.

The zucchini and squash ribbons cooked up nicely, and tasted great. However, they didn't seem quite right for the pesto sauce, or substantial enough for a main dish, so I decided to make them a side dish. (I think the "pasta" would go well with a tomato sauce, as recommended in the Times article.) It was fun to twirl colorful strands of zucchini and yellow squash along with the pesto-covered noodles.

The Times' serving suggestion states that the "pasta" can be served hot or cold; I thought that it tasted much better hot.


Michelle said...

I've tried this too. I think I prefer spaghetti squash as a substitute instead though!

Beatrice said...

That's a good point. I love spaghetti squash topped with a spicy tomato sauce!