Monday, October 18

Penne with zucchini ribbons and mushrooms

I've been working on a granola post (plus several others) to give you, but I'm still tweaking the recipe, so instead I give you penne with zucchini ribbons and a quick write-up.  (This is your cue to look at me like I'm crazy and say, "But Sunshine, it's Fall!   Zucchinis are for summer."  And to that I say, "Well, somebody needs to tell the people at Publix because they just had zucchini on sale last weak, so there.")

Also, I'm going to refer to the zucchini as zukes, because that what we call them at home and I like the way it sounds.  Hope you don't mind.

This is an awesome meal for both AIP and non-AIP folks.  Because the pasta amount is adjustable, you can have as much or as little carbs as you want or need.   We've had this a few times and I've occasionally just had the zuke noodles and pesto on their own.

Penne with zucchini ribbons and sauteed mushrooms

While not so original, I prefer it topped with sauteed mushrooms just like some other recipes.  Roasted pesto stuffed tomatoes (see Smitten kitchen and Veggie Belly's recipes) are a great accompaniment.

  • 3 zucchini squashes
  • 2+ tablespoons oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup pesto*
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated parmesan
  • pasta of your choice


Pumpkin seeds:
Heat oven to 350F.  Spread pumpkin layers in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet.  Toast for about 10 minutes.  Keep an eye on these, they go from just right to burned pretty quickly.  A few minutes before they're finished, they'll start to puff up and pop (which is fun to watch, by the way).  When they're done, they seeds will be mostly puffed up and a greenish brown color.  Conversely, you can toast them on the stove top on an ungreased pan over med heat, shaking frequently; I've never actually done it this way, so I can't speak to its effectiveness.  (Because I use so many pumpkin seeds, I usually toast a large batch in the toaster oven and store them so they're recipe-ready.)

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Dump in the pasta, boil for a minute or so and turn off the heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil, and cover.  Let sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the pasta is cooked to your liking.  Check the pasta frequently after the 10 minute mark to determine when the pasta is done.  I find this method a lot easier to cook pasta than the traditional method. Once the pasta is done, drain and return to the pot. Also, if you don't want to add oil to your pasta, you can rinse it once or twice in cold water (Tara thinks this is blasphemy, but she's also part Italian; I'm part Puerto Rican and can make up my own pasta rules.).

While you're waiting for the pasta water to boil, heat a large skillet over med - med/high heat.  Once the pan is hot, add 1 tablespoon of the oil.  After the oil has heated, add the butter and cook until it has foamed.  Add the sliced mushrooms and stir to coat in the butter-oil mixture; season with a little salt and pepper.  Saute the mushrooms until they are done to your liking, 10-15 minutes.  Empty into a bowl.

Prep your zukes while the pasta and mushrooms are cooking; do this first if you're not confident in your speedy kitchen skills. Peel the zukes. Then working around it's length, peel strips of flesh off.  Continue until you get to the seed (You can throw away the remaining bits or use them up in a creative way; I haven't figured this out yet.).  When the mushrooms are done, heat up the remaining oil if you need it (That's the "+" in the recipe.).  Put your zuke strips in the pan and saute for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently; you want them to soften up a bit, but still have some crispness to them.  When they are done, toss them with the pesto and pumpkin seeds.

To serve, plate the noodles, top with the zuke noodle, pesto, pumpkin seed mixture, and, finally, top with the mushrooms and grated parmesan.

*Note: I just realized that there are no pumpkin seeds in the pictures, but add them anyway.  They give a nice crunch.  Also, we use homemade pesto and since we like ours on the dry side, it takes a little more to get good coverage.  Adjust this to your preferences.

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