Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day 122: Quick Zucchini "Pasta" with Chunky Vegetable Sauce and Meatballs

This recipe has 3 parts: the zucchini strips, the meatballs (optional), and the chunky sauce.

For the zucchini strips, use a vegetable peeler to peel the zucchini on all sides, making long peels. When you get to the center core piece with the seeds in it, stop peeling, and reserve that for the sauce. One zucchini will make enough strips for 2 entree-sized portions.

Zucchini strips

For the sauce, you are going to chop whatever delicious veggies you have on hand and combine those with storebought pasta sauce. I used diced onion, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms.

chopped eggplant, green and yellow peppers, and zucchini
Onions, eggplant, and peppers take longer so I added those first.

yellow tomatoes and sliced portabellas
I added my mushrooms and tomatoes last.

Combine your diced onion, 2T olive oil, 2 cloves garlic, salt and pepper in a large chef's pan or very large skillet. Saute the onions and garlic over medium heat, careful not to let your garlic turn brown. When the onions start to soften, add the rest of the veggies. Saute these for several minutes. Don't let them stick to the bottom of the pan. If they do, just add a tablespoon of water to the pan to loosen them up.

When the veggies are starting to get very soft and fragrant, add your pasta sauce and simmer.

Optional: meatballs! I used one pound of local, pastured ground beef, oats, 1 egg, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Form into 16 round balls (approx 1 ounce each) and cook at 350 for 20 minutes. Drop into the pasta sauce and simmer.

While the sauce is simmering, bring 2cups of water to a boil in a saucepan or microwave the water for 2 minutes until very hot. Drop the zucchini strips into the water to cook them. Let them stay in the hot water for 30-seconds to one minute. Arrange them on a plate and top with a large scoop of the sauce.

zucchini "pasta" with chunky vegetable sauce and a meatball

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