At a ‘modern Italian’ restaurant in San Diego, a friend ordered Zucchini Pasta with Red Bell Pepper Pesto, expecting the pasta to be a grain based pasta mixed with zucchini much like a spinach pasta. However, when the dish came out, I could tell it was zucchini strips, albeit small tubes looking like pasta; the term ‘pasta’ here could be considered somewhat false advertising. Maybe this is the new pasta for Southern Californians.
When he started eating the ‘pasta’ it was like watching the stages of grief wrapped up in 3 seconds. First his face went angry, obviously noting he was eating vegetables instead of pasta. Then his face went sad; missing the pasta. Then acceptance; in the end, while it was not what he expected, he liked it just the same.
I ordered Chicken Parmigiana, which was exactly what I expected. Still, I was curious about the vegetable pasta so I ordered yet another kitchen gadget to make the same at home.
- 1 C Fresh Basil
- 1/2 C Cashews; Roasted, Unsalted
- 1/3 Parmesan (or other hard Italian cheese)
- 1/3 C Olive Oil
- 3 Cloves Garlic
All ingredients except olive oil into a food processor. Pulse a few times to blend. With the processor on, steadily pour in the olive oil. Scrape down sides if necessary, then pulse to desired consistency. Set aside.
- 1 Medium Zucchini
- 1 Medium Yellow Squash
- 1 Medium Carrot
Process the vegetables with your new kitchen gadget. In reality you could use a cheese grater, however the strands will be shorter and thicker. The bonus to the veg pasta maker gadget is that the vegetables strips will be as thin as spaghetti and as long as you want; the strands don’t end until you stop rotating the vegetable inside the container.
Mix 1/4 C of pesto with a handful of veg pasta and your’e done. No boiling, straining or chance of over cooking.
I love the flavour and texture of this dish. However, I probably wouldn’t serve this as a main dish, like the San Diego restaurant, rather a side dish with something more substantial to pair. I had a whole bowl but three hours later I was raiding the refrigerator.