With spring in the air and fresh vegetables gracing our grocery stores and tables, I decided to try vegetable noodles. My first thought was to buy one of those veggie noodle doo-dads “aka” the Spiralizer. Then I thought better of it because of all the other useless things that I had purchased in the past. My next brainstorm was to just buy them already made however, Yikes, they are a bit pricey. Okay then just buy a green and yellow zucchini and julienne them by hand. So with my purchase I return home to begin my veggie noodles! As I prepared to tackle this task by hand a brief memory of a gift from my mom comes to light. I rummaged in my utensil draw and there it is. A tool resembling a potato peeler but with teeth that will, I find out, beautifully julienne my squash. I begin by washing the squash, removing the ends, laying it down long ways and then drag the peeler across the vegetable. Viola! Zuccoodles! Noodles made from a zucchini. After I make several passes and reach the seeds I flip over the squash and repeat the process on the other side. I place all of my Zuccoodles in a bowl, cover with plastic and place in the fridge until I am ready to use them. In the meantime, I have squash left so what to do? Gimbot! As my mother-in-law would call it however, it is actually “Ciambotta” which means vegtable stew.
So I gather the ingredients together for the soffritto; and begin!
1 large onion, 2 stalks of celery, and 2/3 carrots roughly chopped
In a large pot heat 2 tablespoons of EVOO and add the soffritto to the hot oil and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. In the meantime dice two cloves of garlic then add to the soffritto. Take the remaining zucchini and chop up into cubes along with a potato, sweet potato or butternut squash. Add to the pot, sprinkle with some hot pepper flakes and cook about 3 minutes. Next add a large can of diced tomatoes, I like the box ones Pomi, along with a teaspoon of Italian seasoning , a bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste. At this point you can add some Italian sausage you have fried up or keep it vegetarian by adding your favorite veggies. I like spinach or kale, as well as peas, lima beans or both. Frozen ones work just fine. Simmer the stew for about 30 minutes. It is actually better when it cools and is reheated.
Now for the Zuccoodles; I made them “aglio olio” style; olive oil and garlic with red pepper flakes.
Place a pot of water on the stove to very briefly blanch the Zuccoodles, just like pasta only much quicker. When the water comes to a boil add salt and then the Zuccoodles. Remove from water after only a minute! While you wait for the water to boil heat up 3 tablespoons of EVOO. When the oil is hot add 3 to 4 cloves of finely diced garlic and a hefty pinch of red pepper flakes. Do Not burn the garlic! As soon as the Zuccoodles are done remove from the water and add to the sauté pan with the garlic. Take the sauté pan off the heat, add grated cheese and toss. Place Zuccoodles in a serving bowl, top with more grated cheese, a drizzle of EVOO, and some fresh chopped parsley (if you have it on hand).
Fresh Zuccoodles before cooking!