Zucchini Pasta

Hola!

For those of you that celebrate these holidays, I hope that everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend! Mine was a fun-filled weekend, packed with activities. It didn’t hurt that it was one of the nicest weather weekends of the year.

With any celebratory weekend, comes the eating and drinking, and eating and drinking… It’s just the way we celebrate, and one that I always look forward to! It’s after all of the eating, that I start to have my regrets. One way I like to fix that is to eat something light and healthy, and you might like it too.

This is a fun recipe and it will surprise you. First, let’s get something straight. This is not pasta. It is a zucchini cut into pasta-like ribbons and has all the pasta-like qualities you love without the calories. It’s even one way you could trick those that don’t like eating vegetables into eating some! Now don’t get me wrong, I love traditional pasta. In fact, I could eat it every night. But, I think we can all agree that that’s probably not a good idea. So now, you can have the pleasure without the guilt. Let’s do it!

Serves 2 people.

Ingredients:

For the Zucchini “Noodles”, you’ll need 3 medium zucchinis

The Sauce:

– 1 big tomato

– 1 big clove garlic

– 1 Tablespoon of Onion Jam  (Sauté some onion if you don’t have it)

–  1 Tablespoon fresh basil and 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano (If you don’t have fresh, you can use dried, use 1/2 teaspoon of each)

– olive oil

– salt and pepper

-red pepper flakes (optional)

The “Noodles”:  I used a julienne peeler. Some vegetable peelers have different functions, as did mine. If you’re good, you could also julienne them with a knife. Julienne the zucchini lengthwise to have long noodles. When you get closer to the seeds, turn the zucchini and start slicing the other side. The seeds will prevent the noodles from holding together, so you don’t want to use the part with seeds.

You should now try to remove some of the water from the zucchini. Cook them in a skillet with a Tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat for 2 minutes. Let them rest for about 3 minutes so the water separates, remove the noodles from the pan and drain the water. Set aside.

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Zucchini noodles

The Sauce:  Dice the tomato and set it aside.

– Drizzle some olive oil in a pan and heat on medium. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes until it get brown and take it out.  Now, that the olive oil has the garlic flavor add the dice tomato, season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Next add the onion jam and reduce the heat to low. Continue cooking on low for about 15 minutes and add the fresh herbs.

Tomato sauce

Tomato sauce

– When the sauce is ready add the zucchini noodles. Cook them with the sauce for another 2 to 3 minutes.

– Ready to serve!

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Bon profit!

Homemade pasta

Hola!

Pasta. I love pasta. I just think it’s good with anything and everything. Simply with butter and parmesan, or with red sauce, pesto, carbonara, etc. It is very versatile, you can make a simple dish or you can make it very sophisticated.

While pasta is not considered a Spanish dish, we do eat our fair share of it. There are plenty of traditional pasta dishes in Spain. Macarrones is a typical dish, consisting of pasta, tomato sauce, cheese, and a veal and pork mixture. And then there is Canelones, which is eaten the day after Christmas. It is a baked pasta with a bechamel sauce and a veal and pork mixture. One day, I’ll post the recipes for these. Today, we’ll keep it a little more basic.

Nowadays at the supermarket, you can find many varieties of pasta. Vegetable pasta, whole wheat pasta, semolina, etc. And don’t get me started talking about the different shapes and sizes. It looks like there is a new shape every time you visit the supermarket.

The real question you should ask yourself is… store bought pasta or homemade pasta? Oooh! Homemade!! Definitely!

I know. It’s so easy to just go to the store, buy it and boil it. There are many good store bought pastas, and I do use them from time to time. But once you try homemade pasta you will never want to go back! Plus, it’s fun to make and you can flavor it any way you want and color it with a variety of natural ingredients.

The best thing is how simple it is to make. All you need are flour, egg, salt and olive oil. And once it´s made, it just takes 2 to 4 minutes to cook.

You might think that you can not make homemade pasta because you don’t have the tools, but that’s not true. When I first tried to make pasta, I didn’t have any tools. All I had were a rolling pin and a knife. That’s it, and that’s enough. Now I use a KitchenAid mixer and a pasta maker with a hand crank. I like having my pasta tools, because it makes life easier. While I do usually make the dough in my KitchenAid, this time I made it by hand to show you how easy it is.

Let’s do it!

Ingredients for 4 servings:

– 2 cups all purpose flour

– 3 medium eggs

– a generous pinch of salt

– 1/2 teaspoon olive oil

Put the flour in a large bowl. Make a depression or well in the center of the flour. Crack the 3  eggs into the well and add the olive oil and salt.

Using a fork, beat the eggs and start incorporating the flour by pulling in the flour from the sides of the well. You will continue to add more flour to the eggs until you will not be able to use the fork anymore and you will start have to start using your hands.

Once you’ve finished using the fork, knead the dough with your hands until its firm and dry. Once you have a dough ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.

After the dough has rested, divide it into 4 pieces.

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Two of the four pieces

With some flour on your surface, start rolling the dough with the rolling pin until the dough is very thin.(If you are using a pasta machine: roll the dough with a rolling pin a few times and then continue in the pasta maker until the dough is very thin.)

Set the pasta sheet aside and sprinkle with flour.

Once you have rolled out the four separate balls of dough, now is the time to cut it. (If you are using a pasta maker, just use whichever shape you want.)

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If you are shaping by hand, roll the dough lengthwise, then cut it to your desired width, as thin or as thick as you want.

by hand shape

Now you can let the dough dry, or boil it immediately. Do not let the finished pasta sit together. I’ve made this mistake. It will recombine into a big sticky ball and be very difficult to separate. If you are storing it for a while, you need to flour it and leave it separated on your preparation surface, or “hang” it. They make past hangers separately, but you can improvise here as well.

To cook, bring water and 3 tablespoons salt to a boil. Add pasta to boiling water for approximately 2 minutes. It doesn’t take long!

Sauce: (I made a traditional red sauce. This should be prepared before you boil the pasta.)

–  1 Ib, 12 oz (big size) canned whole tomatoes

– 1 tablespoon butter

– olive oil

– salt and pepper

– herbs (optional)

– Heat the tomatoes and butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Mash the tomatoes with a potato masher. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer the sauce on low temperature for at least 20 minutes. I like to add some extra virgin olive oil and some herbs such as a rosemary, oregano, or basil. Stir.

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This next step is important. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir gently. This will incorporate the pasta with the sauce and fully coat the pasta.

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Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese and…

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Bon profit!