Zucchini Noodles with Portobello Bolognese
Apparently, I’m rather hard to shop for.
According to my roommate and most of my family members, they never know what to get me for Christmas/my birthday, and it seems to be a very real source of stress for them. This is ridiculous. As I regularly tell Logan et al., I’m extremely easy to please, and I love any and all presents that I receive!
And as Logan regularly tells me, I am a liar. This statement is usually followed by a laundry list of past presents that I have hated (i.e. tickets to Sleep No More, flannel shirts, camera equipment, etc.). Touché, Logan.
Sidenote: Hate is a very strong word, and I have never hated a present in my life. That would just be ungrateful (it’s the thought that counts, after all). However, I did “intensely dislike” Sleep No More. That shit was weird and scary, and I wasn’t nearly drunk enough to enjoy being jostled through dark rooms by strangers in masks. Sorry.
Anyhoo, to mitigate my loved ones’ gifting anxiety, I’ve started telling them point blank what I’m after on the aforementioned high holidays. I now answer all, “Is there something you’ve had your eye on?” queries with a specific item and where to find it. Which is exactly what I did when my little brother emailed me 48 hours before Christmas this year. In response to his very loving, “Yo. What do you want for xmas? Need to know soon. Thanks.” I said, “I would like The Inspiralizer, please and thank you. They sell it at the Williams-Sonoma across the street from Mom’s. You’re so on top of things this year!”
Full disclosure, I already had a perfectly good spiralizer, but word on the street was that The Inspiralizer (created by the amazingly talented Ali) blew my current Paderno out of the water. Because I am a culinary hoarder like to stay current, I’d been coveting this fancy new gadget for a while, and I was thrilled when Elliot handed me a box wrapped in red Williams-Sonoma paper on Christmas morning.
I thanked the kid for fulfilling my Christmas wish and gave him a bear hug, but I didn’t actually unwrap the Inspiralizer. We decided to skip that part of the gifting ritual since I already knew what it was, and we had more important things to do. Like annoy our mother. And watch DJ Khaled Snapchat.
I’m mildly ashamed to admit that said Williams-Sonoma package sat in my hallway (still wrapped) until two weeks ago, when I walked past it (for the infinitieth time) on my way to the supermarket. Feeling guilty/inspired, I decided it was time to put my bro’s thoughtful gift to good use and make something spiralized, stat. So, I bought a bunch of zucchini and the fixings for turkey Bolognese and prancersized home to make zoodles with my fancy new Inspiralizer.
(That is the first and last time I will type “zoodles.” The word makes me uncomfortable.)
With a pile of zucchini washed and ready to go, I eagerly tore the paper off the box, only to be greeted by a familiar logo. [insert shrieks of horror] It wasn’t The Inspiralizer!!! It was…
THE PADERNO. Duh, duh, DUHHHHH.
I was slightly disappointed, sure, but I refused to let that deter my spiralizing mission. I simply set the pristine box aside (for reasons you’ll soon understand), unearthed my faithful old Paderno on the highest shelf in my pantry, and got to work making zucchini noodles. I then posted a pic of my spiralized turkey Bolognese on Instagram (which was bomb), and since several of you expressed interest in the recipe, I’m finally sharing it today. Or a version of it. I give you…Zucchini Noodles with Portobello Bolognese.
This, friends, is a ridiculously delicious and insanely nutritious bowl of “pasta.” The veggie-heavy, herb-laced sauce is shockingly hearty thanks to the meatiness of Portobello mushrooms, and tossed with al dente zucchini noodles, it’s feel good comfort food at its finest. I firmly believe that this vegan recipe will hit the spot, but if you or a loved one is prone to “where’s the meat?!” meltdowns, go ahead and replace the mushrooms with ¾ pound ground chicken, turkey or lean beef. (Just add it to the pan once the vegetables have softened, and cook for 6-7 minutes until no longer pink.) You can also do half meat/half shrooms if you like. Whatever floats your boat.
Before you get cooking, a quick note on zucchini noodles. They become mushy and release a ton of water when they’re overcooked, so you want to avoid that sad fate at all costs. Be prepared for things to move quickly, and remember that the noodles will continue cooking in your bowl (thanks to the heat from the sauce). You need to get them out of the pan when they’re just tender, which only takes about 2 minutes, max. Personally, I like to keep a big mixing bowl next to the stove. As soon as the noodles are al dente, I transfer them to the bowl, which gives me time to plate a little more leisurely without the zucchini turning to mush. (Attempting to divide long-ass noodles among four bowls with a heavy skillet in hand? Hot mess.)
And now, GIVEAWAY time!! Because I love you, and I want you to enjoy spiralized deliciousness, I’m regifting my brand new Paderno 4-Blade Spiralizer to one of you glorious humans! (Why should I have two spiralizers when so many peeps have none?) To enter, simply subscribe to Domesticate ME! (if you haven’t already) by entering your email address in the box at the top of this site’s sidebar, and leave a comment telling me either: A.) Something you’d like to spiralize (it can be a specific recipe or simply a fruit or vegetable you’d like to turn into noodles), OR B.) Your favorite book. (I need something new to read…)
The giveaway will close on Sunday, February 28 at 11:59pm EST. A winner will be chosen at random and announced in next Tuesday’s blog post. Godspeed. The giveaway is now CLOSED.
Zucchini Noodles with Portobello Bolognese: (Serves 4)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
6 portobello mushroom caps, stems and gills removed, and finely chopped
½ cup minced carrot
½ cup minced celery
½ cup minced yellow onion
3 large cloves garlic, minced
Fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (I strongly recommend San Marzano)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
½ cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped (plus extra for serving)
4 medium zucchini
Preparing your Zucchini Noodles with Portobello Bolognese:
-Okay, just in case you’ve never handled a Portobello before, I thought I’d talk you through the prep. First, make sure you wash the caps really well. Pop off their stems, and then use a spoon to scrape off the dark “gills” on the undersides of the caps. Once they’re nice and clean, finely chop the shrooms. Boom, done.
-Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. When hot, add the mushrooms, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Add a good pinch of kosher salt and a little fresh ground pepper. (It will seem like a lot of mushrooms, but don’t worry—they cook down a lot.)
-Cook for 8-10 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the mushrooms have released all of their liquid.
-Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 more minutes (to cook off the bitterness in the paste). Then stir in the crushed tomatoes, oregano, crushed red pepper (if using), and basil. Simmer gently for 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the flavors have combined. Taste and season with a little extra salt if necessary.
-While the sauce is simmering, spiralize your zucchini with the blade that makes spaghetti-size strands. (The noodles will be verrrrrry long, so I like to trim them into shorter strands with kitchen scissors.)
-Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in your largest skillet or sauté pan. When its good and hot add the zucchini noodles. Season with salt and pepper and cook, tossing regularly with tongs for 2 minutes until just tender. Immediately remove the zucchini noodles from the pan. (You need to get these out of the pan quickly, peeps. Overcooking them will make them watery and gross.)
-Divide the zucchini noodles among 4 bowls and top with a generous amount of Bolognese. Garnish with freshly chopped basil and serve immediately. Feel free to get some grated Parmesan involved if you like.
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