Zucchini “Noodles” with Pesto & Pine Nuts
Known for its tender flesh and delicate flavor, zucchini is nothing if not versatile — you can grill it, sauté it, fry it, and even bake into breads. However, its mild flavor can be a bit bland, so when my garden bursts with zucchini every summer, I’m always looking for new ways to spice it up. Here, peeling the zucchini into wide ribbons and discarding the seeds makes it less watery and creates more surface area for the sauce to coat, almost like pasta. And pesto loaded with garlic and basil adds vibrant flavor. Zucchini masquerading as noodles…what could be better?
- 3 (about 2-1/2 lbs) large zucchini (larger zucchini make for nicer, wider noodles)
- 2 tablespoons homemade or store bought pesto, best quality
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts or chopped walnuts, toasted until golden*
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Using a vegetable peeler, press firmly and peel zucchini into long, wide ribbons. Work your way around the zucchini and stop when you get to the seeds.
- Lightly coat a non-stick pan with olive oil and heat to medium-high heat. Add the zucchini "noodles" to pan and gently stir for about 1-2 minutes, until just al dente.
- In a medium bowl, combine the cooked zucchini, pesto sauce, Parmesan cheese and toasted nuts. Season with salt and pepper to taste (be sure to add enough salt to bring out all the flavors), then serve.
- *To toast the nuts, preheat the toaster oven or oven to 350 degrees. Toast until golden, watching carefully, for about 5 minutes.
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