During the summer, we have wonderful vegetables like zucchini and tomatoes in abundance. This recipe is a spin on pasta and sauce, just in time for lighter summer eating and using up all those wonderful vegetables.
Zucchini 'pasta' with summer vegetable sauce
2 medium-to-large zucchini squashes
2 teaspoons minced garlic
4 to 6 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms (optional)
1/2 cup chopped onion
16 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes, or 1 pound chopped large tomatoes
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
8 ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn (or substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil)
6 ounces chopped pepperoni slices
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan for topping
1. Wash zucchini well. If they are very large, you'll want to peel them. Younger, more tender squash don't need peeling. Then, using a vegetable spiralizer on its largest blade, make linguine-sized zucchini strips. Alternatively, slice zucchini thin and make the strips with a sharp knife.
2. In a skillet or a wok, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir it in, then add the zucchini noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and toss. Cook to desired doneness.
3. In separate deep-sided pan or wok, warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add onion, tomatoes, and mushrooms, and allow to cook while stirring. Drop in the red pepper flakes and pepperoni, just to warm it. When onion is translucent and tomatoes have released their juice, stir in the tomato sauce. When it begins to bubble, drop in the ricotta, stirring to combine. The ricotta serves to add creaminess and a boost of protein, but the sauce will be good without it, too. Add salt and pepper, if needed, to taste.
4. Place a serving of the zucchini noodles on a plate or bowl. Top with a generous dollop of the vegetable sauce and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.