9/11/08

Zucchini Pappardelle with Fine Herbs and Tomato

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I say let's go ahead and keep the zucchini theme going for another day today, shall we? If you have a garden, you're probably pulling your hair out right now trying to think of something different to do with all that zucchini; am I right? Sure, slicing it up, dipping it in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs and frying it is D-LICIOUS, as is the grilled version of the slices drizzled with olive oil, and seasoned with sea salt and pepper. But isn't there something MORE? Something a little more creative you can do with this delicious vegetable? ANYTHING?!?!

Well, that's how I was feeling about a month or so ago when I made this dish and I kid you not... I'm pretty sure I ate this whole dish with a perpetual smile on my face. The textures are great, the flavors are fantastic, and the look of it is just fun. Pasta noodles made out of zuccini? Cool! Well, at least that's how my brain works. It doesn't take much, folks... it doesn't take much.

I found this recipe on the Food Network site and it is courtesy of Emeril Lagasse back in 2003. On my list of people that I'd love to have a beer with, Emeril is definitely in the top 10. He just seems fun and you know has that "who gives a f..." attitude when it comes to what other people think. I love it.

This dish can be served as a side dish, or the base of a main dish (as I did), or a main dish as it is if you're not THAT hungry (or feel like eating like a bird that day). I made this recipe my own by browning up some hashbrown-style potatoes, then topping that with the zucchini pappardelle, along with some leftover browned ground pork, and well... I might have topped the whole thing off with a fried egg before I ate it. But once I did that, it just wasn't pretty anymore, so you don't get to see, ha!

So how do you make it? Well here's how:

Start with a beautiful zucchini,

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then, using a mandolin, thinly slice the zucchini into long strips that look like this:

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They'll still feel a little stiff, but that's ok... they get bendy and pasta-like after they've been cooked for a few minutes. So don't slice them too thin just so you can get them to feel like pasta right off the bat.

Now, I made this recipe a bit differently and cooked the vegetables in a different order, so you can decide which procedure sounds best to you. I started by heating olive oil in a large pan, then added the garlic and tomatoes and hit it with some salt and pepper. I simmered that for a few minutes, then added the basil. Remove the tomato mixture into a bowl and set aside.

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In the same pan, brown the ground pork. If you don't have ground pork, I think italian sausage would taste great in this or even chicken. Whatever meat you choose (or if not meat, just skip this step), add a little more olive oil to the pan, then brown the meat. Remove the browned meat from the pan into another bowl and set aside.

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In the same pan again, add a little more olive if needed, then add the onions (I used yellow onion instead of green because that's what I had), and hit them with salt, pepper, and red pepper flake for some heat. Saute them for a few minutes until softened. Then remove them from the pan into another bowl and set aside. (I really love to do dishes, ok!? haha)

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If you want to do like me and add some heartiness to this recipe, brown yourself up some hashbrowns. Just take a potato or two (depending on how many people you're cooking for) and shred it up in a food processor or on the biggest holes of a cheese grater. Then using a paper towel or cheesecloth, squeeze out the excess water from the shredded potatoes. Heat olive oil in a pan and add the potatoes to the pan. Season with salt and pepper.

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Allow the potatoes to cook for a few minutes, the scrape up with a spatula and repeat until they're as browned as you want them. Remove them from the pan and place a portion of them as the base of your finished dish.

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If you have any extra hashbrowns, set them aside. Now add the onions back to the same pan and your zucchini slices. Drizzle with a little olive oil and add the vermouth. Saute them for a few minutes until tender.

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Now add back the tomato mixture.

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And if you browned some meat, add that back to the pan now too. Cook for a few more minutes just until heated through. Toss in the herbs right at the end and stir.

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Serve the zucchini mixture on top of the bed of hashbrowns, then sprinkle some freshly grated parmesan on top. And hell, top it with a fried egg... because it's GOOD. ;-)


Zucchini Pappardelle with Fine Herbs and Tomato
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2003
Show: Emeril Live
Episode: Healthy Classics

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2 pounds medium zucchini (about 4)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup sliced green onions
2 tablespoons dry white vermouth
1 1/2 cups fresh tomato sauce, recipe follows
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup fines herbs--equal parts minced fresh tarragon, sliced chives, pickled chervil, and chopped parsley leaves
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Trim the blossom off the zucchini. Use a mandolin and slice the zucchini lengthwise into very thin strips. Discard the center seedy pieces and separate the slices.

Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and green onions and cook until fragrant. Add the zucchini and toss until just barley wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the vermouth and bring to a boil. Add the tomato sauce and bring to simmer while tossing. Add cherry tomatoes and remove from heat. Add fines herbs and toss again. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Divide the pappardelle onto plates and shower with the cheese. Serve immediately.

Fresh Tomato Sauce:

2 pounds plum tomatoes (about 10), peeled, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, smashed
1 sprig fresh basil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put the tomatoes along with the olive oil, garlic, and basil in a saucepan. Season with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Cook until saucey, about 15 minutes. Discard the basil leaf and transfer the sauce to a blender* and puree. Put the sauce in a bowl and set aside.

*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

6 comments:

  1. I just got waay too excited, since I just got a mandoline for my bday :) I'm anxious to see your plum muffins, too!!

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  2. This looks delicious. I'd love to have a beer with Ermeril too:)
    - www.cheapcookinmama.blogspot.com-

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  3. intersting way to slice the zuchini must try this one soon, thanks!

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  4. Just found your blog on food buzz. Very nice! Zucchini, pork and potatoes are a great combination.

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  5. Just discovered your blog - very nice!

    The use of zucchini in lieu of pasta is so fresh and bright.

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  6. where's that egg???

    i love this dish. just wonderful. i've been reading all the stuff i've missed. just beautiful food as usual.

    went to cleveland for a quick trip. loved your city! i'd KILL for westside market in nashville... we had fun eating and sightseeing. i can't wait to go back.

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