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Zucchini pasta is a different and creative way to prepare zucchini, either for people who do not eat carbs, or for those who have run out of ways to use up all the zucchinis that appear at the end of summer. In this method, the zucchini is sliced into very thin strips, and then either boiled very briefly or sauteed in a pan with olive oil. At this point, the appearance and texture is quite similar to pasta. The zucchini pasta can then be served with any type of favorite sauce, such as alfredo or tomato sauce, though many people prefer lighter options like pesto, or even just a garlic and olive oil blend.
When preparing zucchini pasta, keep in mind that it will cook down a bit, and is not as filling as traditional pasta, so it is necessary to start with more. The rule of thumb is about one medium to large zucchini per person. Starting from the outside, begin peeling it with a vegetable peeler, or slicing it thin with a mandolin. This will create the nice thin strips that are reminiscent of pasta, particularly fettuccine. Once the peeler starts hitting seeds, stop -- this will ruin the texture of the zucchini pasta.
Then, there are a few different ways to cook the thin strips. Whichever method is chosen, keep in mind that the zucchini will cook quickly, and if it overcooks it will start to fall apart. A popular method is to saute the zucchini pasta in a pan with olive oil, garlic, and other seasonings such as salt and pepper to taste. It may then be served with a sauce, such as tomato or alfredo, or eaten as-is. Another option is to boil the zucchini quickly, for no more than one minute, and quickly run cold water over it to stop the cooking. Again, it may then be tossed and served with sauce as desired.
Zucchini pasta is a much healthier option than pasta, and a great choice for people following a vegetarian, low-carb, or gluten-free diet. In some cases, it may even be a way to get kids to eat more vegetables, since most kids are fans of pasta and sauce. It is a very low fat dish as well, unless it is prepared with alfredo sauce, which increases the fat content pretty drastically. Keep in mind that leftovers may be briefly reheated, but they may also be delicious cold the next day.
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