Put a medium-rare steak, hot pastrami sandwich or anything containing bacon in front of me and I’m a happy camper. But I love fruits and vegetables equally. When it comes to food, for me, anything goes. One thing I haven’t embraced though is the vegan/raw food movement.
Limiting so many categories of food outright just seems, well, sad. Like a morning without coffee really. That’s why when my husband’s cousin, Vanessa (also Maggie’s incidentally), opened a vegan restaurant in the East Village and had us in for a raw food dinner, I was a little apprehensive, not because I don’t like vegetables, but because on the menu was fettuccine alfredo. I don’t know much about vegan raw food, but I know this much: no cream, no cheese, no pasta. What else is fettuccine alfredo?
Vanessa is a great cook though, so I headed off to the dinner with an open mind. As it turns out, to raw foodies, “pasta” is zucchini put through a spiral slicer to give it an effect that is somewhat like noodles, but not really. As for the alfredo, I never did find out what was in Vanessa’s sauce, but I’m guessing nut milk because she does amazing things with nut milk. Vanessa’s fettuccine alfredo definitely wasn’t that, but no matter. It was delicious. The vegetables were crunchy, the sauce was rich and flavorful, and I happily chomped away until every last bite was gone.
To my surprise, I even found myself craving it later, but I felt daunted at the task of recreating it. Then I found a recipe for squash and zucchini “linguine” with goat cheese in Food & Wine. The farmer’s market is overflowing with chubby green zucchinis and baby yellow squash, and this seemed like the perfect way to use them. This “linguini” has become a new favorite of mine because it is easy, light and refreshing. I adapted the recipe, switching out parsley for dill among other things. I just peeled strips of zucchini and squash using a vegetable peeler, blanched them in boiling water for 30 seconds, then dropped them into a bowl of ice water before patting them dry.
When the whole thing is put together, the effect is pretty great. You can even twirl the strips around the prongs of your fork, and while it’s not linguine, it’s something else entirely. And that something is good.
Squash and Zucchini “Linguini”
(adapted from Food & Wine, August 2008)
- 2 zucchini
- 2 summer squash
- 1 tablespoon chives
- 1 tablespoon chopped dill
- 1 lemon for juice
- 1 chopped shallot
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- olive oil
- Fresh goat cheese
In a bowl, whisk the lemon juice with ¼ of a cup of olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the chives and dill. Sauté the shallot, garlic and red pepper in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until fragrant over medium heat. Add salt and pepper. Meanwhile, peel the zucchini and squash with a vegetable peeler, then peel off long thin strips until you reach the core. Blanch the strips in boiling water for 30 seconds, then remove them to a bowl of ice water to cool. Remove and pat dry. Put them in the bowl with the lemon juice and herbs. Add the garlic and shallot, and stir. Top with crumbled goat cheese.
Posted by Jessica Merrill