When this recipe posts, I will have spent almost four weeks traveling through Italy, from Venice to Sicily. I will have had several stops and cooking classes in Tuscany: Cinque Terre, Pisa, Florence, and Siena. I will have had a cooking class in Rome, traveled down the Amalfi Coast, spent time in Sorrento, frollicking two days on the island of Capri and stopping in the beach town of Cephalu. Along the way, I will have experienced all sorts of Italian cuisine, and I may just cringe when I look back at this little creation of Mediterranean veggies and fake pasta. For starters, the pasta isn’t really pasta…it’s zucchini made with my new contraption found in the “as seen on TV” section of some random store in Huntsville, Alabama.
BUT, when you’re trying to cut a few carbs, save a few calories, and lose a few pounds, this may be an option to cook something close to a Mediterranean dish. I’ll have to let you know for sure when I return. Either way, it’s delicious, healthy, and easy to make.
Just start with the zucchini and some sort of vegetable pasta maker.
This is the assortment of vegetables I chose to put over the pasta:
The kalamata olives are not shown in this picture, but they are a large purplish-black olive with a meaty texture. Their flavor is sweet and briny. I love to eat them as snacks, and I chose to put them in this dish because they are so tender and meaty. I’m sure regular black olives would work for a substitute or if you’re not an olive person, just leave them out. I started to do just that because I couldn’t find them in the refrigerator until the last minute…and that’s the reason they are missing from the picture. And I almost forgot to mention the slithered basil isn’t in the picture either. I use a lot of fresh basil. I grow it on my back deck and pinch a few leaves off daily to use in an assortment of dishes from breakfast to dinner.
The sun-dried tomatoes are a must and this brand is so delicious. It’s California Sun-Dry.
When the pasta is cooked it looks like this:
Spoon the vegetables over the pasta and drizzle with a little sweet balsamic (my favorite is High Country www.highcountryoliveoil.com ) Sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese and delizioso!
- 3 large zucchini
- 1 red onion
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 large basil leaves, sliced
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil (I found a sundried tomato flavored, but original is ok)
- 3 cups chopped spinach
- ½ cup of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- ½ cup kalamata olives, sliced
- Sweet balsamic vinegar, just a drizzle
- 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
- Tools needed: Zucchini noodle maker
- Wash and peel two zucchinis. You don’t have to peel them, but it feels more like pasta to me when the peelings are removed.
- Using the zucchini pasta maker, shred the zucchini into pasta.
- Sauté the pasta in a skillet with a little oil and sprinkle it with salt.
- While the pasta is cooking, cut up the vegetables, including the sun-dried tomatoes and kalamata olives. I cut the peppers and onions into slithers, slightly chop the spinach. Set aside until pasta is cooked.
- The pasta should be cooked in about 10 minutes or when it is tender and easily cut with a fork. If you cook it too long, it will become too soft.
- Remove the pasta and put aside.
- In the same skillet, sauté the peppers, onions, and garlic until the onions start to look translucent. Add the spinach, olives and sundried tomatoes. Cook until the spinach is wilted. Add the basil leaves just before removing from the pan. This should only take a couple of minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Separate the pasta onto four small plates.
- Spread the vegetables evenly over the plates.
- Drizzle a little sweet balsamic vinegar over the top of each plate and sprinkle them with Parmesan cheese.