When I was in college and broke, I lived on what every typical college student lives on, freezer pizza and lots of noodles. And while I did have my fair share of Ramen noodles, (still a would-be guilty pleasure along with Kraft mac and cheese, if I didn’t know any better) it was all about the Italian pasta dishes back then.
I had taken a two week trip to Florence, Italy in the fall of 2003 and my lexicon of recipes was broadening far beyond the classic spaghetti with meat sauce. Linguine alla vongole (with clams), spaghetti alla carbonara (favorite!) and pasta puttanesca became the order of the day.
From the moment I ready the ingredients for puttanesca, years ago, I knew I’d love it! Kalamata olives, garlic, capers, red pepper flakes! The flavors are intense and fantastic.
BUT – after such a steady diet of starches led to a 50-pound weight gain and chronic tummy troubles and achy joints, I knew something had to give. As time went on, I discovered that, like many others, my body did not gluten. I did not have celiac, nor was I especially gluten intolerant but I was gluten sensitive. Enough to prompt me to change my eating habits. I have since become healthier and happier but I have always missed the pasta. I missed all my amazing recipes.
So, when my husband and I started spiralizing with our SpiraLife vegetable slicer, it was a revelation. Suddenly, I could reintroduce all my favorite sauces without the health and weight altering side effects. Zucchini pasta made it possible to enjoy all of my favorites and to eat up a full zucchini (which I would have never done otherwise) and be full. Not only was it healthy for me, but it revived a part of my cooking life that I thought I had laid to rest forever. Joy!
I bought anchovy paste specifically for this recipe, which you can buy here, but if you prefer to leave it out, that is fine. It will still taste delicious without them. Or, if you have canned anchovies on hand, feel free to use those. I’d say 1-2 anchovies would be plenty for this. Taste and add. Remember, you can always add, but it is almost impossible to take things out once combined.
A little side note on anchovies: anchovies are an extremely good choice as far as fish is concerned. They are low in mercury and contain high amounts of vitamin A, potassium and calcium.
Whether you have been avoiding pasta or you are just making the decision to cut it out of your diet or if you are simply looking to cut back on the amount of starchy carbs you consume, I hope this recipe helps you to celebrate the happiness that is veggie pasta. Our SpiraLife has really been a saving grace for us. It makes me feel more creative in the kitchen and to not feel guilty about eating all the foods I love. We use it in soups like my Mexican Chicken Zoodle Soup and salads like my favorite (addictive!) Spiraled Cucumber Greek Salad. This salad is one that I crave and eat sometimes multiple times per week.
I hope you enjoy these and many more. Have fun getting creative and welcome to the world of good-for-you pasta.
- 4 medium zucchini, spiraled with SpiraLife
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup pitted chopped Kalamata olives
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 2 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoon dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat oil in pan over medium heat.
- Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add olives, capers, anchovy paste, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes. Sauté 2 more minutes.
- Add tomatoes and simmer 5 minutes.
- Add in zucchini and toss until zucchini is warmed through, about 2 minutes more.
- Stir in fresh parsley. Remove from heat.
- Top with grated cheese and serve.