It’s that time of year when tables are filled to the edges with delicious dishes that celebrate family traditions new and old. With side dish options for sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn souffle, and biscuits, it can be easy to forget a vegetable to make a well-balanced holiday plate. Zucchini noodles, or “zoodles,” can make a perfect substitution for pasta dishes in an already carb-heavy season.
Spiralizing zucchini is quick and easy, and our cooking classes love seeing the transformation from zucchini to noodle. While zoodles can take on many different sauces, flavors, and toppings, in this recipe we like to keep it classic with pesto and cheese. Changes to the recipe could include a protein such as chicken or beans. If a spiralizer isn’t one of your kitchen gadgets, a mandolin can be used to get matchstick noodles or a vegetable peeler can be used to get pappardelle-style noodles.
Zoodles al Pesto
For pesto (yields 2 cups):
3 tightly-packed cups fresh basil leaves (preferably the Genovese type)
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano)
1. Wash basil leaves in cold water, discard stems, and dry thoroughly on paper towels. In a blender or food processor, add garlic, toasted pine nuts, and salt; process for approximately 15 seconds.
2. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the mixture from the sides of the bowl. Add basil leaves and olive oil, using the pulse technique to shred the basil.
3. Blend in the cheese. Taste and adjust for salt.
4. You may cut the zucchini with a spiralizer, a mandolin fitted with a julienne attachment, or shave thinly with a peeler. Blanche in boiling salted water, drain and toss with pesto (about 2 tablespoons per serving).