One thing that is awesome about living in Pittsburgh (other than the city just rocks) are the farmer’s markets we have. I am such a huge supporter of locally grown produce from folks that are just like you and I. Farmers are such an important part of our lives yet people often take them for granted. They get up before the butt crack of dawn (yes it’s an official time) and often don’t rest until late at night when most of us are fast asleep in our jammies. It’s a thankless job yet they do it day after day. It’s honorable and real.
So the other day I was at our local market that sells locally grown produce. Seriously it’s some of the prettiest stuff. The tomatoes were bright red and firm to the touch. The peppers were crisp in a myriad of colors. Then I spied the zucchini section. Now it’s funny as a child I would have given you my Barbie collection just to get out of eat zucchini, onions, tomatoes or pretty much any veggie that wasn’t corn or taters. If my dear mother were here today to see my cook (on purpose) with onions, tomatoes, zucchini and other non corn/tater veggies she would think I plain lost my mind. Lori Ann doesn’t do vegetables. But as you grow up your taste buds mature and change. Now granted there are some foods that I would prefer to send to the pits of hell (like cherries as they are the grossest things EVER) than eat them. But as I grew older I grew to really respect the ingredients and understand how their flavors work in recipes. It made sense to have onions or tomatoes. And eventually I began to fall in love with caramelized onions and mushrooms. Now I won’t eat a raw onion and I will gag til there is no tomorrow if you force me to eat a raw tomato but when cooked something magical happens to them.
Zucchini I didn’t really fall in love with until my mid twenties when a group of us went out for dinner before a night out on the town. We’d work all week (50+ hours) than go straight to dinner, happy hour then hit the clubs til 2:30am followed by a late dinner then bed by 6am. Ahhhhh to be young again. Hell now I’m lucky I’m awake past 10pm on a Friday night! Side note… a few weeks ago on a Friday night I went to Mr. Fantabulous “Honey let’s go watch some tv and snuggle.” So we put on our jammies, got in bed and snuggled up to watch TV. And then I looked at the clock. Folks it wasn’t even 9:30pm! I looked at him and said almost sad-like “Honey, it’s Friday night and not even 9:30. We’re in bed already for the night. Um, when did we get old???”
I can remember when I would just be getting ready for the night at that time and often wouldn’t leave until 11pm. So he looked at me, wrapped his arms around me and said “Honey, when I’m with you time stands still. We didn’t age, we just found perfection and made it slow down so we can enjoy it for as long as possible.”
Seriously I married the most amazing guy EVER! Now you know why he’s Mr. Fantabulous!
Okay so back to zucchini… as I was saying I was in my twenties when I fell in love with it. No it wasn’t in some amazing dish or sautéed with this or that. Nope. It was batter dipped and deep fried, topped with sprinkle cheese and served with marinara sauce. I mean seriously ANYTHING deep-fried rocks (except cherries because they suck). So yeah folks if you want to get your kids to eat veggies, deep fry ’em. LOL No seriously start them off early and use them in a wide variety of dishes. Once I had that and realized that they didn’t suck I started using them in healthier dishes.
Now with a single search on the website for zucchini will get a ton of recipes featuring this vegetable in a wide variety of dishes. From appetizers to side dishes, pastas to seafood, snacks to desserts…. yes desserts. Zucchini cake is one the bestest (go with it) cakes ever! It’s the PERFECT way to hide veggies. So last night while Mr. Fantabulous was at the gym and I had to figure out dinner #2 for him I was working dinner for me. Since I wasn’t feel super hungry and wanted something light I opted for this dish. See marrying into an Italian family pasta is a requirement almost nightly. Sadly pasta doesn’t always agree with my stomach so I often try to find alternatives.
I’ve been making pasta out of zucchini for many years now but honestly it’s one of those dishes that only recently became popular. Why didn’t I share this before? Honestly I wasn’t sure if people would be interested. It’s pretty difficult to figure out what folks want recipe-wise and what will trend. Stuff I think is the next best thing to sliced bread remains stagnant but then stuff I think is ‘meh’ goes viral. *shrugs* So I share what tickles my fancy at the time. But please if there’s something you really want shoot me an email and I will do my best to oblige.
Now to add some depth to this I added in some sliced pepperoni and shaved Parmesan. This dish is light and bright without the heaviness that traditional pasta gives you. Plus this dish is awesome hot, warm or cold! This is a definite must-have for summer!Print
- 1 medium zucchini, ends trimmed
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large shallot, sliced thinly
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 12 slices sandwich pepperoni cut into thin strips
- 6–8 fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup shaved fresh Parmesan
- Taking the zucchini make long, thin ribbon noodles using a vegetable peeler or mandolin.
- Pass the peeler or mandolin over the side of the zucchini lengthwise to produce long, flat noodles. *When using a mandolin use the smallest blade setting.
- When you approach the seeds, turn the zucchini and begin slicing another side. The seeds will prevent the noodles from holding together, so you do not want to use the part with seeds in it.
- Set the zucchini aside.
- In a medium skillet over medium heat add the oil.
- When the oil just starts to shimmer add in the shallots and tomatoes.
- Cook for 2 minutes or just until the shallots and tomatoes begin to soften slightly.
- Add in the garlic, pepperoni and red pepper flakes stirring gently.
- After 2 minutes add in the zucchini noodles, salt and black pepper.
- Using tongs gently toss around to coat evenly and the zucchini ribbons begin just to soften.
- Add in the lemon juice and cook for 30 seconds gently tossing.
- Remove from heat and tear up the basil leaves placing them in the pan.
- Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Stir once and plate.
- Top with shaved Parmesan.
If you wanted you could also use squash as well with this dish.