Cooking is the biggest form of therapy and procrastination for me. Especially when you’re cooking and you’ve banished the rest of the family to their rooms so you can blast music and dance around. So much relaxation.
Today, I was feeling a little bit blergh. In the midst of doing too much work, I’ve been missing some of my mates a lot, one of my best friends is in America which doesn’t help me at all, and did I mention there is too much work to do?
At around 4pm, while I was savouring a fresh mug of masala chai, the insatiable craving to have pasta settled in the pit of my stomach. But I’ve been on a little bit of a health conscious/flu ridden rollercoaster over the past few weeks, and carbs don’t help that cause. Instead, I decided to use zoodles instead of traditional noodles.
God bless zucchini. I’m in love.
I made a herbed tomato and onion, roasted pumpkin and mushroom, and olive pasta. Bu obviously, I swapped out noodles for zucchini noodles, or zoodles.
A note with my recipes: unless I’m baking, I rarely ever use measurements or precision. I don’t know if it’s come from always watching my mum cook, but I just know how much to add. So I’ll be estimating measurements here.
To make the pasta, you need 6 truss tomatoes, 2 large red onions, 1 quarter of a pumpkin, 400 grams mushrooms, oregano, thyme, freshly ground black pepper, salt, 5 zucchinis, 100 grams of chilli stuffed olives (cut into halves) and tomato paste.
Cut up the pumpkin into 2cm squares and steam so the pumpkin softens. Blanch tomatoes, remove the skin and roughly dice.
Slice mushrooms and onions, making sure to keep them separate.
To make the zoodles, the easy way out is using a spiralizer. Unfortunately, I didn’t have access to one (It’s on my birthday wishlist because it’s something I’ll use a lot) so instead, I improvised and used a vegetable peeler to peel my noodles. The result was flat strips of zucchini, bearing resemblance to fettuccini.
To prep the zoodles, toss them with a tablespoon of olive oil and cover.
In a frying pan, heat one tablespoon of olive oil with one teaspoon of oregano. Toss pumpkin and mushrooms and let them absorb the flavour and roast.
In a wok, heat two tablespoons of olive oil with one table spoon of olive oil and one table spoon of thyme. Cook the onions until golden brown and add in the diced tomatoes and olives. At this point, I thought the quantity would be a little less, so I added in about 200ml of tomato puree. Add in half a teaspoon of black pepper and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir and cover for 10 minutes, cooking on medium heat always.
Add in the roasted pumpkin and mushroom, stir well and cover. Let cook for 20 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally.
To cook the zoodles, heat a frying pan on medium heat and toss the zoodles, allowing them to become slightly crispy, but not burn. I ensured there was a little bit of crunch to my zoodles, just for texture. Cook for approximately 5-6 minutes until the desired crispiness is achieved.
Because I’m lactose sensitive, I left out the cheese to serve. However, what would really bring the dish together is some fresh bocconcini on top, just to complement the roasted vegetables and zucchini. Another nice touch would be fresh walnuts and toasted pine nuts, but after 1.5 hours due to the insane prep time that comes with vegetables, I wasn’t bothered to crack fresh walnuts.
The sauce serves more than 4 people, but because zucchini shrinks when it cooks, the zoodle quantity was perfect.
Yay for Autumn cooking, comfort food and the best music to cook/dance to. While I was cooking, I listened to Beyonce (bless Lemonade especially 6 Inch), Justin Timberlake, Zayn, The Weeknd, Nathan Sykes, The Hairspray Soundtrack, The King and I soundtrack, Ruelle, Timbaland and Trey Songz.
My music is a hot mess.