Of all the great vegetables piling up at the farmer's markets, one of my least favorites is summer squash (which includes zucchini). I welcome being treated to slices of warm zucchini bread and cakes, when generously made by friends, but the seemingly endless supply that shows up in my CSA box and from my own garden (don't ask) makes me a little crazy. I'm always on the search for new ways to hide it in a dish or turn it in to something interesting that doesn't involve breading and a pan of hot oil.
This year I did just that and am excited to share it with you. Going back to my foray in raw food, I remembered reading something about making raw "noodles" out of summer squash. The problem, however, was that it seemed you needed a special piece of equipment (a spiralizer) to cut the vegetable in to long noodle-like strands. As many of my friends can attest, I am a kitchen tool junkie, but this is something I really didn't want to buy unless I knew I would enjoy eating said "noodles".
After a quick google search I learned I could use a Julienne Peeler instead of a spiralizer. (A knife can also be used, but I was not interested in spending the time it would take to cut up a bunch of squash into strands by hand.) Well, this kitchen tool junkie has a julienne peeler, so I was in business. And the results were so good, I've been spreading the word ever since!
Making Summer Squash Raw "Noodles" is quite easy with a julienne peeler.
- Wash the squash. (1 large squash makes about 2 servings)
- Carefully run peeler down length of squash covering all sides until you get to the seedy center.
- Gently separate strands with your fingers.
- Toss strands in a bowl with a small splash of olive oil and they are now ready for your favorite sauce!
It really is that easy! And, hello...nutritious, refreshing, and fun!
The noodles definitely give me the mouth feel of eating al dente pasta. The longer you let them sit (they will last a few days in the fridge), the softer they will start to become but they never got mushy. So far I've tried these "noodles" a couple of ways and have loved them each time.
I am a Tomato Basil Pesto freak. I make batches (a soon to come project) that I freeze in small containers to use throughout the year. This was the first sauce I tried on my noodles. If you're interested I'd be happy to share my recipe or you can find your own online or in your favorite cookbook.
The second sauce I made tonight, and it was delicious!! Another great way to use up a lot of your CSA veggies this time of year is to make Ratatouille. In case you missed the Disney movie, Ratatouille is a peasant dish from France and although there are complex ways of making it with fancy layers and creamy sauces, I'm used to a very simple method of dicing all the vegetables and sautéing them in a pan until just cooked through. Although this is a great way to use a lot of fresh summer veggies, it's a dish that I can only eat once. So when I made it the other night, for lack of time and creative energy, I ended up with a large amount of leftovers that I was less than excited about.
Tonight those leftovers were transformed in to a fantastic sauce that I used on some squash noodles. Here's what I did:
Fresh "Ratatouille" Pasta Sauce
1. 1 batch of leftover ratatouille. There are a lot of recipes out there, including a nice one in the "From Asparagus to Zucchini" cookbook.
2. 1 large garden fresh tomato, cored, halved, seeded, and further cut in to chunks
3. 1 large clove of fresh garlic, thinly sliced (use less if you don't like a nice garlic kick)
4. 1/2 jar oil packed sun dried tomatoes (just the tomatoes, not the oil)
- In a blender or food processor, roughly puree the garlic, and tomatoes (fresh and sun dried).
- Add the ratatouille (in this case it was cold) and process in to a chunky sauce.
- Pile the noodles on a plate and top with a heavy dollop of your fresh sauce.
- Enjoy as a refreshing, cold, summer pasta alternative! (Though the sauce could be heated and enjoyed warm)
I hope you give this a try and enjoy a new way to savor summer squash and your favorite pasta sauces.
I would love to hear your creative ideas for using summer squash!!