By Natalie Cumberbirch – March 5th, 2019
What’s up people! Coming at you with another ‘recipe’; dinner idea, ‘inspo’ for anyone lacking that creative kick in the kitchen. I recently started a new job at Mamiche Bakery in Paris where my first task of the day is baking off all the croissants, pain au chocolat, pain au raisin…basically all the flakey, buttery pastries that smell like actual heaven. If you know me at all, you know I like to indulge. I’m all for the carbs and sweets and butter. However, sometimes I get carried away. Like 3 croissants a day becoming the norm. Not ok Natalie! So, I did a little recentering and brought myself back to reality. Two croissants a week, and a few modifications with other meals.
One of those modifications being the zucchini noodles. I love me a good pasta; a nice olive oil, slow roasted cherry tomato, and basil situation. Throw in a few chili flakes if you’re feeling crazy. Don’t forget the parm and fresh ground black pepper. I’m not saying don’t eat pasta; the right carbs are great for fuel before and recovery after a workout. I’m solely suggesting an alternative when you can’t seem to control those carb cravings. I’ve been making half pasta, half zucchini noodles, and it’s got me feeling great. Try it out, let me know what you think!
Oven Roasted Cherry Tomato & Basil Zucchini Noodles
Recipe serves 2
- 2 cups fresh cherry tomatoes
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- Half head garlic
- 1 large zucchini
- Spaghetti of choice (into n.5 size)
- Zest of half lemon
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
- Chili flakes
- Parmigiano Reggiano
- Salt and Fresh Ground pepper
Preheat your oven to 250F. Cut your cherry tomatoes in half, lay face up on a parchment or silicone mat lined baking tray. Drizzle generously (¼ cup) with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Throw on the thyme sprigs, and slightly crushed whole garlic cloves. Get that in the oven for around an hour, till they’re nice and crisped up but still juicy. Should be all the smells.
**Side note: these slow roasted cherry tomatoes are good for lots of things; throw them in your
breakfast scramble, enjoy them with a steak dinner, or just snack on them like candy.
Around the 50 minute mark on the tomatoes, get a large pot of water boiling, heavily salted. I always make pasta 2-3 minutes less then the box suggests, so i can finish it in the pan. The starches from the pasta will naturally thicken your sauce as you continue to cook it in your sauce. Very important! When straining your pasta, keep some of the water, ideally the last bit (1 cup) with all the starchy sediment.
Make that zucchini into beautiful noodles using your spiralizer – if you don’t own one, they’re a
game changer. Keep those aside for the moment.
Get yourself a medium sized frying pan. Over medium heat, heat approximately ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil. If you’re wanting a little spice, some chili flakes are always nice. Let that simmer a little so the flavors come out. Then toss in your pasta which is not fully cooked at this point.
Coat it in your hot olive oil, and carefully add in ¼ cup pasta water. Watch for the steam. Stir continuously, similar to a risotto, finishing off the cooking process. Add in your tomatoes and the thyme and garlic, a handful of grated Parmesan, and keep stirring. If all the liquid has evaporated and your pasta is still undercooked, continue to add pasta water and stir. Don’t go crazy and dump a big ladle in there, slow and steady. Worse thing that happens is you crank the heat and let the liquid evaporate, but you risk overcooking your pasta, and making those juicy tomatoes into mush.
Once the pasta is cooked to your liking (nicely coated with a slightly spicy, light parm- olive oil- garlicky- tomato sauce) remove from heat. Pour the pasta hot over your zucchini noodles and give that a toss. The heat from the noodles will be enough to soften your zucchini, no further cooking is necessary. Finish it off with some roughly chopped basil, and zest of half a lemon. Show it some love with a bit more olive oil, fresh ground black pepper, and salt to taste.