This is a way to make pasta without using grains. You use a variety of kitchen tools, depending on the shape of pasta. You use a vegetable, such as the zucchini. This is the newest trend in nutritional healing. It is perfect for no gluten diets or those who are restricting carbs for whatever reason.
You use a spiralizer.
This tool can be a hand-twisted option, available at places like Target for $15.00. These have interchangeable blades and are made of plastic.
You can get the more expensive version that has a metal stand and a metal skewer, the Paderno model, $33 at Amazon, or you can find it stores like Williams Sonoma.
The Kitchen Master Veggie Spiralizer with Carrot Peeler, $25
from HSN, is the one I settled on. If you are going to use it all the time, the cost is worth it. This spiralizer creates long spaghetti-like strings.
There are two ways to cook the zucchini spaghetti. The first is to simmer them in a pot of low sodium chicken broth or salted water until they are tender. The second is to stir fry them in a wok or a sauté pan with a little oil until they are tender.
Alternatively, you can use the old-fashioned vegetable peeler to create flat ribbons, like a pappardelle noodle. Zucchini is good for this. So are various varieties of hard squash. So is cooked beet. These are best cooked in broth or salted water for a few minutes. You can use the straight peeler or the y-shaped peeler. Either works well. It’s all in a twist of the wrist.
To create a lasagna noodle from zucchini or eggplant, use a good kitchen knife– especially if you are a fan of Japanese vegetable knives. The Japanese vegetable knife has a special heft and balance. The shape of the blade makes it ideal for getting a good even slice on a long vegetable.
For consistency of slice, try a mandoline. I spent months researching the perfect mandoline– one that does not require the user to switch blades, one that has a very sturdy stand, and one that has a variety of cuts. After trying a number of mandolines from cookware shops, and a number of brands, I settled on the PL8 Professional Mandoline. It is not cheap, at $60, but it makes up for that in construction and convenience. You can get it at Amazon or HSN.
The PL8 Professional Mandoline offers features rarely found in mandolin slicers, such as an extra wide stainless steel slicing deck, a hinged finger guard, a safety hand guard that secures foods for stable slicing and an integrated blade system that eliminates loose parts.
The pro mandolin can slice, julienne and waffle cut in four different thicknesses and all blade options are controlled by simply turning a knob or sliding a switch. Non-skid feet fold under for easy storage in a drawer or cabinet. It is dishwasher safe.
I grill the eggplant or the butternut squash faux noodles until they have some color and some taste. I use salt and pepper on the eggplant and a little cinnamon or fresh nutmeg and powdered ginger on the butternut squash. The butternut squash also does well with a little sage. Then use the cooked and cooled veggie in the same manner as you would use a lasagna noodle.
The bonus for the dysphagia patient of using the knife, the veggie peeler, the mandoline and the spiralizer for creating a veggie pasta is an extra serving of veggies.
These puree very nicely. You cut the one cup serving up before adding it to the bowl of the food processor or the small pitcher of a blender, add the sauce, add cooked meatballs or even cooked sausage or seafood, and puree until the desired consistency is achieved.
Leave a comment below to let me know which devices you like to use when creating veggie pasta.