Maintaining three blogs is a bit time consuming these days (in addition to Macy Bakes, I write YearOfChees.es, and the blog for Wiggle Room, a Boston-based personal organization company.) Okay there's the plug for all the blogs. Go read 'em all and then meet me back here.
I was sort of playing blog roulette: which one shall I update today? Jordan has been anxious to see our zucchini noodle creation in writing, so that one is today's winner.
What are zucchini noodles, anyway? Basically, zucchini cut into long thin strips, to look like spaghetti. There are a few ways to achieve this:
This awesome looking spiral slicer gadget.
Or perhaps this slightly less awesome but still cool julienne peeler.
A fancy (expensive) mandoline with a julienne attachement.
Or, a basic mandoline and a lot of patience (illustrated below).
If you don't even have a mandoline and halfway decent knife skills, hold off on the "noodle" part--save yourself the headache and pour the sauce over sauteed or roasted zucchini. It'll still taste delicious.
So anyway, Jordan had mentioned this as a dinner idea, so we bought some zucchini at Haymarket and gave it a whirl. It was one of those meals that I just threw together using only the ingredients I had on hand, and then it turned into something quite tasty. So much so that we made it again a few nights later for Jordan's sister Kerry and bro-in-law Chris--and we all devoured it...again.
Zucchini Noodles and Easy Sausage-y Sauce
Makes 4 Servings
1-2 cups of cocktail sized tomatoes (although other sizes work too, just adjust roasting time)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 shallot, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
3 large or 4 regular sized sausages, either pre-cooked or raw will work
3-4 large or 4-5 medium-sized zucchini
28-ounce can of tomatoes, both diced or ground will work
A couple Tablespoons of chopped parsley
Hard cheese, such as Pecorino or Parmesan, for grating (optional)
First, slow-roast your tomatoes:
Preheat your oven to 275˚F. Quarter cocktail tomatoes (or halve if using cherry/grape sized, eighths if using full size). Toss the tomato pieces with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, place them on a sheet pan, and slow roast them for 1-2 hours. They should be slightly shrunken, but not as small and leathery as sundried tomatoes. You can do this step ahead of time. Also, timing is not all that important. They can be more or less roasted, and it'll all work out fine.
Get the sauce going:
Grab a wide pan that is deep enough to eventually hold all the sauce and the zucchini noodles. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil and place the pan over medium-low heat. When the oil is warm, add the shallot slices and cook until they're softened, they can brown a little, but only just a little. Add the garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes and cook for an additional minute, stirring to make sure the garlic does not burn.
If you're using raw sausage, remove the casings and crumble the sausage into the pan. Stir often to break up the sausage, and cook for 5 minutes, or until the sausage is mostly opaque. If you're using pre-cooked sausages, halve them lengthwise and then cut them into bite sized half moon pieces, then toss them in the pan.
|Crumbling in the sausage|
Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, then keep the sauce warm over low heat until the zucchini is ready.
While the sauce is doing its thing, prep the zucchini:
If you have the fun gadgets linked above, go ahead and use them. However, this is what I did (after washing the zucchini and trimming the ends):
Using a mandoline (carefully!), slice the zucchini lengthwise. Restack the zucchini, and using a sharp chefs knife, cut the zucchini ribbons into thin pieces.
Put all the zucchini noodles in a microwave safe bowl, cover them, and microwave them for 3-4 minutes, until they are wilted but not soggy.
Transfer to a colander and press out as much water as you can. I did this by pressing down on the strands with a clean kitchen towel.
Toss the dry-ish zucchini noodles and some of the chopped parsley into the sauce, and toss to coat, completely (I love tongs for this). Serve in four low bowls, and top with the remainder of the parsley a bit of grated cheese, if you want.
PS. I just made you eat paleo. Ha!