I generally tend to avoid posting recipes that require you to go out and buy a kitchen gadget. That’s because I don’t like what my sister refers to as “one trick ponies” in the kitchen—items that serve only one purpose and tend to take up valuable real estate on my counters. But this kitchen gadget is small enough to fit in your utensil drawer, has no attachments, and doesn’t cost much.
And it makes noodles out of zucchini.
No, really. Noodles you can twirl and slurp and enjoy no matter what your dietary restrictions (unless you’re allergic to zucchini). Noodles that are actually nutritious. And extremely low carb. I’m talking about the Japanese spiral slicer, also known as a Spirelli, spiralizer, zoodle maker, and generally the most fun and useful kitchen tool to enter my home since my trusty Braun immersion blender in the mid-nineties.
I first discovered the spiral slicer when my husband gave up gluten (along with all other grains), and my family kind of went crazy for “zoodles.” I started giving spiralizers out as goody bag gifts to people to who come to my cooking classes. At first people were skeptical about the little hourglass-shaped tool, but then they started cutting yard-long ribbons from regular squash — and audible amazement always followed.
With my spiral slicer, it’s super easy to turn 6 zucchini into a huge plate of the world’s healthiest “noodles.” It also easily juliennes carrots, Japanese eggplants, and summer squash, but I am partial to zucchini because it’s always piling up and has a mild enough flavor to (almost) pass for pasta. I, being a veggie lover, actually prefer zoodles to noodles, by the way.
Once it’s cut, you can use your pasta in any recipe. Instead of boiling it, I sauté it in a large pan with olive oil until it’s soft before tossing with the sauce. I’ve tried zucchini noodles with roasted veggies, sautéed chicken, and butter and shaved Parmesan. All were delicious and plenty satisfying. But my favorite way to eat zoodles is with a simple Amatriciana sauce. It tastes like a pasta dish you’d be served in a sidewalk café in Rome.
Zucchini “Pasta” All’Amatriciana
- 6 medium zucchini
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 28-oz. can whole, peeled tomatoes, such as San Marzano style
- 4 oz. pancetta (Italian pork belly) or thick uncured bacon, cut into small cubes or strips
- ½ cup white wine (optional)
- Salt & pepper
- ¼ cup finely grated Pecorino cheese
Using a spiral slicer, cut the zucchini into long “noodles.” Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large skillet and sauté noodles until softened. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Crush the tomatoes using a potato masher or food processor. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook pancetta until slightly browned but not crispy. Add the white wine and cook down until it no longer smells boozy. Add the tomatoes and cook until they are slightly darker and thicker. Add the zucchini pasta and toss to coat with the sauce and cook about 2-3 mins. until soft. If it seems too thick, add a little water. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide onto plates. Garnish with cheese.