Whole wheat pasta sucks. Every time you put red sauce on whole wheat pasta and rub it in how you are ‘eating healthy,’ you have taken a year off of my life.
But provided you are using an oil-based sauce, there are a handful of times where it is acceptable to use whole wheat pasta, and one of them is after you overdose on Edzo’s burgers/shakes/fries for lunch and are condemned to eat a light dinner to compensate. Feel like death? Make a green vegetable and magically your self-esteem doesn’t suck so much. This is usually the same motivation that causes me to buy overpriced granola and weird whole wheatified organic versions of goldfish crackers.
Technically, you can make legit looking ‘pasta’ out of zucchini, but that would require a mandolin or really great knife skills. We used a peeler and were sloppy, so this is really whole wheat spaghetti with zucchini tagliatelle. Fancy.
P.S. the least shitty of all whole wheat pastas is actually generic 365 brand from Whole Foods. You can obviously tell it isn’t real pasta, but is one of the few that doesn’t taste like gritty nut paste garbage.
Whole Wheat & Shaved Zucchini Pasta with Fresh Basil (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
1/2 box (or bag) whole wheat spaghetti/spaghettini/linguine/fettucini/tagliatelle
2 medium size zucchinis (3/4-1 lb total)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
Handful of basil leaves, coarsely chopped
Red pepper flakes
Salt & fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Boil water. Salt it. Using a peeler, shave the zucchinis into long flat peels (alternately, you can pretend you are on Iron Chef and hack it away into a fine julienne, but unless you are an expert it will turn out crunchy and it won’t be our fault). Heat the oil in a pan until hot, and lightly brown the garlic. Add the red pepper flakes and immediately stir in the chopped basil, then remove from heat. By this time, you can probably drain the pasta - SAVE SOME WATER. I KNOW YOU WILL FORGET SO I AM PUTTING IT IN CAPS (spaghettiandmeatblog cares). Return pasta to its pot and add the shaved zucchini, the garlic/basil/oil mixture, some more olive oil, and cheese. Toss and add pasta water, salt, and pepper to your seasoning desires, using the pasta water to smooth out the sauce texture.
Top with more cheese, and a basil leaf if you like your pasta with added panache… but let’s be honest, we really only put the leaf on the plate to impress the internet.
An attempt to solve the bland vegetable dilemma. The carrots are soft, sweet, and a little glazey from the soy/sugar/ginger mixture, and the zucchini gets roasted on the inside but crispy and breaded on the outside. We added sliced, medium-rare top sirloin steak because we are carnivorous, but the vegetables could stand alone.
Ginger Glazed Carrots
4-5 large carrots, peeled and sliced on the bias
2 tbsp. soy sauce
Grated fresh ginger root
Preheat to 425°. Coat carrots in thin layer of soy sauce in a glass baking dish. Grate ginger root and sprinkle sugar over carrots. Bake 30-35 minutes or until carrots are softened and browned. They go well with spicy peanut sauce.
Crispy Baked Zucchini
2 large zucchini, cut into sticks
1 large egg
Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs (traditional over panko, if possible)
2-3 tbsp. grated Romano cheese (can use Parmesan if desired)
Splash of milk
Preheat oven to 425° (these can be easily cooked along with the carrots). Mix cheese and breadcrumbs on plate. Stir egg with splash of milk and dredge zucchini strips in mixture, then roll in crumb and cheese mixture. Place on greased or sprayed cookie sheet and bake uncovered 25-30 minutes. These go well with a marinara sauce.