Zucchini Pasta with Tomato Mushroom Sauce

Today was another CSA sample day, so I needed to make a big batch of something fresh and seasonal, to prepare for the CSA members to taste when they picked up this week’s bins.  The star ingredient of the produce bins were the monstrous zucchini we have growing, which inspired the following recipe…

Zucchini Pasta with Tomato Mushroom Sauce

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Ingredients:

  • 2 large zucchini
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 small package mushrooms
  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

To Prepare:  This recipe is so simple, yet packs in so much flavor.  We’ll start by making the sauce.  Begin by chopping your onions – I used a mixture of red and white, but you can choose whatever you prefer.

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Sauté the onions over medium heat in a tiny bit of olive olive.  You want to cook these for at least ten minutes, until they are browning and soft, so make sure to keep the heat on medium to avoid burning.

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While the onions are cooking, chop your garlic and then add to the pain after about ten minutes.

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Give your mushrooms a rough chop so that they are easily bite sized.

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Once your onions and garlic have cooked long enough to be nice and soft, add your mushrooms on top and stir them to combine.

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While the mushrooms cook, you can chop your tomatoes.  You might be sensing a pattern here – add, chop, add chop…  I used a mixture of slicing, roma, and heirloom tomatoes to give a variety of flavor and color.  You can pick the tomato that works best for you!

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The mushrooms will give off a good amount of moisture when cooking, so they should help loosen some of the browning buildup from the onions on the bottom of the pan.  When the mushrooms are really wilted and most of the excess liquid is gone, it’s time to add the tomatoes. 

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The tomatoes are going to give off a LOT of liquid – stir all of the ingredients well to combine, and let it simmer over medium heat.  They key ingredient in this sauce is PATIENCE.  Let.it.cook. 

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You should have a nice rolling simmer going, so that all of that excess liquid cooks away, and you are left with amazing concentrated flavors.  Cook for ~30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add salt and pepper to taste – be generous with the salt. 

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The final product should have very little runny liquid and should almost stew-like.  Adjust your final seasoning.  Deeelicious!

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While the sauce is simmering away, you can prepare your zucchini ribbon pasta!  Check out these monster zucchinis we have on the farm.  (And check out the bags under my eyes – someone needs a NAP!)

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Using a vegetable peeler, remove the outer skin from the zucchini and throw it away.  Then use the same veggie peeler to peel ribbons of the zucchini flesh itself, like so…

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Run the peeler down the zucchini lengthwise to create long thin strips.  Turn the zucchini in a circle for ea
ch new peel, so that you are evenly peeling on all sides. 

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You may need to do these slowly at first so that they don’t break, but one you get the hang of it it goes very quickly.

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Stop peeling once you start exposing the seeds.  The seeds mess up the ribbons, so you have to discard the rest of the zucchini once you hit the seeds. 

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You don’t need to waste the rest of the zucchini though.  I chopped mine up and sauteed it with olive oil, salt, and pepper until soft – then topped with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.  Lunch! 

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Back to the ribbons – peel both of your zucchinis until they are down to the seeds.

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Now there are two options here.  The first option is to toss the pasta in a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, top it with sauce and eat it raw.  Raw pasta is HUGE in the raw food world.  But if you don’t like your pasta quite so crunchy, you can also do a quick and light sauté.  I went for option two – olive oil, salt, and pepper, just quickly sauteed in a pan over medium high heat.  Only cook the “noodles” for 2-3 minutes, enough to soften and heat them through. 

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Just a few minutes on the heat and you will have soft delicious “noodles” that you won’t believe aren’t really pasta. 

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Next up, top them with some of your delicious long-cooked sauce…

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And then top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese for that real pasta-like finish…

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This is such a perfect light and tasty meal for summer.  It feels like all of the indulgence of pasta, without any of the excess calories.  Feel free to pile your bowl high!

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Enjoy!  :)