Zucchini Pasta Topped with Roasted Tomatoes, Basil Pesto and Walnuts
Here’s a very delicious and economical healthy dish that is perfect for the vegetarian, the person who wants no carbs and for the person who wants to loose some weight. It’s also a pretty one to serve. It’s a dish that does entail a bit of effort and time but the end result is well worth it and you can cut out some steps if you so desire. As well, if you wish to serve it for guests as a more “complete” meal, you can serve it topped with lightly sautéed shrimp–and I like them sprinkled with some crushed red pepper flakes- and a side of crusty French bread. Bon Appetite!!
Ingredients for the Roasted Tomato Topping:
- 1 ¼ lb. Roma Tomatoes, sliced thin
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 3 Tblsp. olive oil
- S & P
- 5 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees
- Line a cookie sheet or other baking sheet with aluminum foil
- In a medium size bowl lightly mix the tomatoes with the garlic cloves, olive oil and S&P until they are evenly coated.
- Place the seasoned tomato slices in one layer on your pan and bake on middle rack in the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes—till the tomatoes are shriveled and softened.
- Also bake the zucchini inner cut parts for the last 15 minutes (see step #2 below in the instructions for the Zucchini Pasta).
- Remove the tomatoes from oven and wrap the aluminum foil around them and place back in oven to keep warm. Same for the zucchini. Hint: Before serving the tomatoes, remove the herb sprigs.
Ingredients for the Zucchini Pasta:
- 2 ½ lbs. of zucchini, julienned into long strips with your vegetable peeler
- 1/2 C. Pesto –(see recipe below—or you can use a purchased product)
Instructions for the Zucchini Pasta:
- With a vegetable peeler, peel the unskinned zucchini into long strips down to the soft and seedy inner part. Save these parts and cut them into halves. You will be roasting these for a side garnish to your dish. (see instruction step # 5 above). Place the zucchini “pasta” peels in a large pot along with the pesto. Mix well to coat all of the peels and cook and stir lightly over medium heat for 5 minutes. Do this step right before serving.
- Place the cut seedy zucchini parts on a separate baking dish lined with aluminum foil. Brush each slice with some of your pesto and bake in the oven for the last 15 minutes of your tomato slice baking. When somewhat browned and softened, you can wrap this in the aluminum foil to keep warm in the oven. (see instruction step #5 above)
Ingredients for the Basil Pesto (This makes 1/2 C. of pesto):
- 1 C. of washed torn off basil leaves
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 Tblsp. lightly toasted chopped walnuts or whole pine nuts
- 1/4 C. olive oil
Instructions for the Pesto:
- Place ingredients basil leaves, clove, nuts and half of the olive oil in a processor. Process and then add the rest of the olive oil. Finish processing.
- If you want extra pesto, double (or more) this recipe. It’ll store in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks and will also freeze well (particularly if you top it with additional olive oil) for several months.
Ingredients for the topping of the served dish:
- 1 Tblsp. lightly toasted chopped walnuts or whole pine nuts. So when you toast the nuts for your pesto toast an extra Tblsp. for your topping.
- Shaved Parmesan
Serving the dish:
- Place the zucchini pasta in the middle of your dish. Top with the tomatoes and garlic and the toasted nuts and Parmesan. Place the roasted inner zucchini halves around the “pasta” (pictured above) or if you wish you can serve the “pasta” surrounded by shrimp. (pictured below)