Zucchini Noodles with Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Cream

zucchini noodles with tomatoes and cream Zucchini noodles have been all the rage for quite a while now, I’ve even made them my self and posted it here on my blog. In the past I’ve used my handy julienne slicer to create my “pasta” noodles but recently I bought a Spiralizer to see what all the hype was about.

I’m really not a person who has lots of big gadgets, quite frankly I don’t like cleaning all the different parts, but I’m going to make an exception with this one, I loved it!

What I like about it is that you get long continuous noodles that really look like pasta, it’s super healthy and light, a pasta alternative when you want one, it’s low carb, gluten free and you can create a million different recipes with it just like you can with regular pasta, and just like I did with this dreamy sauce, more on that below!

So far I’ve only tried it with zucchini and yellow squash but it’s also good with potatoes, butternut squash, onions, carrots, cucumbers, the list goes on and on and it comes with three different blades.

zucchini noodles I was surprised how easy it was to use, just cut the tip and bottom off your zucchini, then slice it right in half and attach the big hunk to the slicer, now turn the handle and watch your noodles appear.  I couldn’t stop, I was out of control I used five zucchini and two yellow squash, I had a ton when I was done and it all came out perfectly, nice and curly and long.

zucchini noodleszucchini noodlesspiral vegetable slicer The feature I really love about this is that it actually cores your squash, see the picture above, all the seeds are contained which makes for a nice dry “pasta” and you know how wet zucchini can be. In fact I had so much leftover that I put it into zip bags and two days later the “pasta” was still dry, no moisture at all in the bag which is so typical of cut zucchini, that was a big plus for me!

slow roasted cherry tomatoes Now for that dreamy sauce I paired it with, it came straight out of this book, by Domenica Marchetti. I’m always roasting cherry tomatoes, I’ve done it a zillion times, but never have I placed them into heavy cream and parmesan afterwards. Brilliant!

slow roasted cherry tomatoes and cream

Wow!  I knew I would love this recipe the minute I saw it in her book, it’s decadent and oh so flavorful and actually a little goes a long way. But what’s not to love about slow roasted tomatoes, cream, parmesan, basil and thyme, it’s a match made in heaven!

zucchini noodles with tomatoes and cream And you might not feel as guilty spooning it over healthy zucchini pasta noodles, I didn’t!

Zucchini Noodles with Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Cream

Ingredients

  • 3 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash made into zucchini noodles by using either a Spiralizer or a julienne slicer.
  • For the Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Cream Sauce, adapted from Domenica Marchetti's, (The Glorious Vegetables of Italy)
  • I used a mixture of both yellow and red cherry tomatoes for added color
  • 1 pint of yellow cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 pint of red cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 or 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • small handful, chopped fresh basil
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Arrange the cherry tomatoes cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle all over with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 275 degrees F for 1 1/2 hours until puckered but still juicy.
  2. Heat the butter in a saute pan over medium low heat, when the butter is melted and starts to foam add the shallot, cook until softened.
  3. Scrape in the tomatoes and any juices that collected on the baking sheet.Add the thyme sprigs and pour in the cream, I added half of the cheese by sprinkling it around the tomatoes and into the cream.
  4. Heat gently on low until it simmers. Turn off the heat and stir in basil.
  5. In a larger saute pan, drizzle with oilve oil and place your zucchini noodles on top, gently cooking and carefully tossing until just slightly wilted and still al dente, just a few minutes.
  6. Place zucchini noodles onto a serving platter and spoon the sauce right over the top, adding more parmesan cheese.
http://www.prouditaliancook.com/2014/07/zucchini-noodles-slow-roasted-cherry-tomatoes-cream.html

 

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Summer Crostini with Garden Pestos

crostini with garden pestos Now that summer is in full swing there’s usually always something to harvest daily from our veggie garden, some days it’s just a few stalks of kale or swiss chard, a tiny bunch of broccolini or a few cherry tomatoes. Nothing yet to make a huge meal from, but perfect for making small bites!

garden basil One thing I do have an abundance of right now are fresh herbs, the rain just exploded their growth. Basil, mint, thyme, rosemary, parsley, sage and tarragon are growing all over the place and I feel so guilty if I don’t use them all!

garden herbs I was recently gifted with some garlic scapes, (thanks Julie and Ken) so I thought making a few different pestos would be the perfect way to start using up all my bounty.

homemade garden pestos So I made my trusty Basil Pesto, and tried out two new ones, Pea and Mint, and Garlic Scape and Kale Pesto. If you use your food processor you can whip these up in no time! Pesto’s are so versatile you can put them in and on just about anything, pastas, grilled meats, soups, pizzas, veggies, fish, omelettes, I could go on and on, I even throw some in when making egg salad!

crostini with garden pestos Another fun way to eat up your pestos is to slather some on top of  crostini. Crostini are thin slices of toasted bread drizzled with olive oil and garnished with  endless possibilities. By adding  in your favorite charcuterie, grilled veggies, various cheeses, good olives, fresh fruit, etc. you can create an elegant antipasti, lunch or dinner, just don’t forget the wine!

crostini with garden pestos I was in love with this recipe the minute I saw it, a crusty piece of bread topped with pea and mint pesto, creamy Burrata cheese and a slice of prosciutto, this is to die for, it’s a meal in itself! The only thing I changed up in the recipe was the cheese, I used grated parmesan for mine.

If you don’t want to use meat try some thinly sliced grilled zucchini to replace it.   Again, I repeat, to die for!

crostini with garden harvest Here are some other ideas for crostini using up whatever you might have growing in your gardens.

crostini with garden harvest Roasted tomato slices topped with basil pesto***** Mascarpone cheese topped with garlic scape and kale pesto, roasted mushrooms, leeks and thyme*****

Ricotta topped with garlic and red pepper sauteed broccolini***** Goat cheese topped with garlic and red pepper sauteed swiss chard*****

crostini with garden harvest It’s all good! Small bites, big flavor, simple and sophisticated!

Garlic Scape and Kale Pesto

Ingredients

  • 2 garlic scapes cut in chunks
  • 2 cups kale, stems removed
  • 1/3 cup toasted almonds or walnuts
  • 1/3 cup grated romano cheese
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil

Instructions

  1. In a food processor add garlic scapes, nuts and kale, pulsing until chopped up fine.
  2. Add in cheese, red pepper and salt and pepper, process until incorporated.
  3. While machine is running, pour olive oil down the tube until you get a loose consistency.
  4. Cover and refrigerate.
http://www.prouditaliancook.com/2014/06/summer-crostini-garden-pestos.html

 

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Summer Entertaining Ideas

grilled clams and squid Summertime entertaining is in full bloom with backyard barbeques, pool parties and endless celebrations. Here’s just a few of my tried and true recipes that I make quite often during the summer and have always been a hit with friends and family.

Impress your guests with some Grilled Calamari, I buy mine already cleaned so all you have to do is marinate it in olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper. When you’re ready to grill it, place it into a grill basket so it’s easy to toss around to achieve a nice char, it only takes about 5 minutes with the gas burners on high.

Grilled Clams with Tomato, Wine and Sausage Sauce, I would say this is a terrific dish for Father’s Day, it’s a manly meal, messy and good, just serve some crusty bread to soak up that luscious sauce! grilled seafood Did you know you can cook lobster on the grill? Well you can and it tastes amazing! I always remove the lobster meat this way, it’s full proof, then all you have to do is brush your lobster down with a mixture of garlic and butter or olive oil, sprinkle paprika on top then place shell side down with the lobster meat perched on top directly on the grill,  cook on medium until opaque, so delicious!

How about a Seafood Boil, it’s casual eating where every thing is placed in front of you and all that is needed is some cold wine and good conversation!

Anything planked is fine by me, salmon, cheese, vegetables, shrimp, you name it, I’ve done it and posted it here on my blog. The smokey wood flavor that comes from the boards enhance everything you place on it.  Here’s another favorite of mine, Prosciutto Wrapped Scallops. summer grilling Who doesn’t like Beer Can Chicken, it always comes out so moist on the inside and crispy on the outside, it never fails!

How about some pork? You can’t go wrong with Italian sausage, ribs or chops. But maybe you’re in the mood for some shish kabobs complete with the veggies, all you’ll need is a salad or two on the side and your meal is complete! Italian party food Nine times out of ten at every big party I always serve  Sausage and Peppers and Baked Mostaccioli, you got to have some pasta, and besides it feeds a ton of people! party sides We’re artichoke obsessed in my family and these Grilled Artichokes always go so fast, they’re easy to make, it’s a nice light summertime version.

Make an impression with a beautiful round platter filled with thin cut Zucchini Carpaccio, sprinkled with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, a great way to use up all your garden zucchini and a pretty impressive looking side dish. grilled veggie pizza Grilled Veggie Pizza, Oh My! I have two words for you. Make It! grilled shrimp and orzo salad Next time you have to bring something to a party, bring this! Orzo with Grilled Shrimp and Feta, the flavor combination is out of this world good. I get asked to make this all the time.

INGREDIENTS
Grilled shrimp (marinate the shrimp in lemon peel, lemon juice, olive oil, crushed garlic, and a pinch of red pepper flakes, then grill)
Cooked orzo pasta
Diced and seeded English cucumber
Diced red onion
Crumbled feta
Grape tomatoes, halved
Kalamata olives
 Lemon zest
Mint, parsley, oregano
Make a vinaigrette by whisking 3 parts good olive oil to 1 part fresh squeezed lemon juice, add 1 crushed garlic clove, salt and pepper. Taste it to your liking either adding more or less. Place all ingredients in a bowl, adding all the herbs, more feta, (make sure it’s in small crumbles) pour your vinaigrette over all the ingredients, taste it and make sure you have enough of everything! Adjust it to your liking.
Garnish with lemon slices.     Note: This was a huge catering pan, I used 3lbs. of cooked orzo and 2 lbs of medium shrimp, the rest of the ingredients I just judged until I thought I had enough, look at it and taste as you go!

party desserts And lastly you have to have some kind of dessert, my friend Debbie makes the best good old fashioned Lemon Bars, a combination of buttery shortbread and tangy, bright lemon. They’re irresistible and get devoured! She’s happy to share her recipe with you below.

And finally, this Grape Salad, people go bonkers over it, there won’t be one grape left in the bowl, trust me!

Happy Entertaining!

Deb's Lemon Bars

Ingredients

  • FOR CRUST
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temp
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup, powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • FOR THE TOPPING
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups, granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons, fresh lemon juice ( a must!)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350, mix crust ingredients and pat into a 9 x 13 ungreased pan, spread to corners. I do this with my fork and fingers.
  2. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes, while it's cooking make the topping.
  3. Mix the topping together and pour carefully over the baked crust and bake for additional 25 minutes.
  4. Cut with a sharp knife after it has cooled and then dust with powdered sugar.
  5. Note from Marie:( I added lemon zest for garnish, totally optional )
http://www.prouditaliancook.com/2014/06/summer-entertaining-ideas.html

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