Three of my good friends came over last night, and we decided to cook dinner together.
Like me, Andrew has certain dietary restrictions. He too is lactose intolerant. He is also on a health kick, and has lost a significant amount of weight in the last few months by going low-carb, low-sugar, and working out.
We wanted Italian food, but didn’t want the guilt of eating pasta. We went over to the grocery store, loaded up on zucchini and some other items, and headed back. With the help of a spiral cutter, we were going to have zoodles.
Stacey, Andrew’s lovely fiance, got to work. The spiral cutter I own is a GEFU, and is a manual cutter in which you need to rotate the veggie with your hand. It takes a bit of time, but it’s worth the effort. It’s similar to the Vegetti. Soon we had around 6-7 zucchini all cut into “pasta”.
As she was cutting up the zucchini into zoodles, I got a head start making my pesto rosso sauce. In a blender, I combined:
2 cups fresh basil, washed and dried
2 cloves of garlic
2/3 cup marinara sauce (use any one you like – I use the sauce my husband makes from scratch)
2/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup walnuts (traditionally you would use pignoli nuts, but walnuts are cheaper and still work nicely!)
1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese
salt & pepper to taste
Blend until it’s smooth and there are no chunks!
Now, the most important part of any meal is whatever protein is involved. We all agreed that sweet italian sausage would work nicely with the lightness of zucchini and pesto sauce. We bought the sausage meat (without the casing) so it would be easier to cook and break apart into crumbles. I cooked the sausage over high heat for around twenty minutes, until browned.
While the sausage was cooking, Stacey cut up a head of cauliflower. Andrew then tossed the florets in some olive oil and spices, and laid them out on a roasting pan. We baked the cauliflower for around 20 minutes at 400 degrees F, just enough for their texture and flavor to be slightly burnt.
The last step of the meal was to cook down our zoodles and dress them in the pesto rosso sauce. Place a large pot over medium heat, and pour in the sauce, heating it through. Next, pile on your raw zoodles.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the amount of raw veggies you have swimming in that pot. Take the pot’s lid, and cover it. Wait a few minutes. The steam will cook the zoodles and cause them to wilt a bit, weighing them down, and making it easy to stir in to the sauce. This should only take around 5 minutes. Your end result will look like this:
Mmmm! Now it’s time to assemble our plates, drink wine, and dig in!
***Special shout out to our friend Jon for taking all of the food photos and being really excited about eating!