Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Zucchini and Carrot "Pasta"

Wow- the impossible happened over the past few weeks. I actually hit a limit with rich food. Who knew? I was lucky enough to spend 10 days sailing around the Caribbean on a Princess Cruise. This means days upon days of beautiful weather, gorgeous scenery, relaxation and tons of food. I'll update soon about the food that we experienced while on board, but tonight- tonight I needed to find a way to eat lots of veggies.
After arriving back home this afternoon, I dropped my stuff off and literally ran to a neighborhood market to pick up some vegetables. All I wanted to eat tonight was something light, something delicious, and something that would re-stretch my culinary legs if you will. I decided to prepare a dish that has become one of my favorites over the past few months- zucchini pasta with tuna.
This is a dish I absolutely fell in love with as
it can be so easily made, and easily adapted to appeal to whatever cravings you might have. Tonight I was craving light, I was craving garlic, and I was craving spice.

I picked up two medium sized zucchini, carrots, cremini mushrooms, red jalapeno, garlic, red onion, tomato, olives and a can of cento tuna. Back home, I finely chopped garlic, and the jalapeno and then added them to saute pan with about a tablespoon of warmed olive oil. Then I added about half of a small red onion, also chopped, and a couple pinches of kosher salt. The aromatics
from this combination really started to blend and I could smell the garlic and the spice and it smelled wonderful. Back on my cutting board I got back to work chopping a tomato, peeling carrots from their grummy outside, and then continued to peal the carrots into long thin strips. Those completed, I added the tomatoes to the pan, and then back at my cutting board- sliced about 5 of the small cremini mushrooms, added
them to the pan and then pulled out the greatest tool ever- the old mandolin- and began slicing the zucchini into those wonderful paper thin slices. Once the mandolin work was done (injury free this time!) I used my knife to slice them into strips. Then I turned my attention back to the pan where the tomatoes had started to break down into a lovely sauce consistency. I sprinkled in chopped parsley, and then added just a 1/3 of a cup of a good red wine. I let the alcohol cook out of the wine, and then added a handful of pitted Kalamata olives. Satisfied with the state of the "sauce" I started stirring in the carrot and zucchini strips, simmered and stirred for a short time- maybe two minutes, and then stirred in the can of tuna.

I love the way this dish looks! Tons of colors, the strips of carrot and zucchini swirled like pasta, and then the smell! Garlic and spice, delicate wine notes in the background...delicious. The taste of this one is even better. So light and full of differing textures and flavors from the different ingredients. The sauce somehow mellows to a buttery feel even though there is no butter present, and the carrots and zucchini provides a bit of a crisp texture. The olives give a saltiness and then the tuna adds a "meatiness" to the dish that makes it filling without that heaviness that can often be found.

Zucchini and carrot pasta, as I like to think of it, has become my favorite dish for those cold nights when I would love to have a real pasta dish but don't want to be bogged down with noodles. Its also a perfect dish if you feel like having lots of garlic, or something super spicy as the flavors are so easily absorbed by the veggies. A great light winter meal when you want something warmer than a salad :-)

1 comment:

chow and chatter said...

oh wow lovely pasta like the way you chopped the veggies Rebecca

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