I feel the best when I eat a lot of vegetables every day, and since I have started to cut back on the carbs a little and avoid gluten grains, vegetable noodles have become a nice alternative to regular pasta.
The first thing I tried – and am seriously in love with, by the way – was carrot tagliatelle which are wonderful when you roast them in butter or ghee and season them with cinnamon or Chinese five spices, and herbs like basil, tarragon, or chives. However, I do not find them quite appropriate for Mediterranean dishes taste-wise, but I also never was overly fond of Mediterranean dishes anyway, because they tend to contain some ingredients I do not like so much – in the first place, olive oil.
Yes, you read that right. I usually despise one of the healthiest sources of fat for the simple reason that it tastes like olives. And it makes everything else taste like olives as well. I am totally not keen on olives.
But then I discovered a nice olive oil from Tunesia that has a very light and fruity flavor, and it is the first olive oil I actually like.
This olive oil is wonderfully suited for making a Mediterranean dish that features lots of fresh vegetables and flavorful herbs! I got a serious appetite for a dish like that. And since I still follow my budget-friendly shopping list mostly, I thought a nice bolognese sauce would be a good idea because it contains canned tomatoes, carrots, and onion – thus, many affordable ingredients. (I used minced beef to make the bolognese, but you can use any other kind of minced meat as well. Vegan options are chopped tofu, soy mince, or canned beans, lentils, or chickpeas.)
Then, of course, the veggie noodle problem arose. I know that the lovely HEAB came up with the idea to use spaghetti squash as a substitute for actual spaghetti, and I totally love that idea and would also love to try it out, but unfortunately, the German food store landscape is very sparse when it comes to squash. Mostly, you can find squash only in fall and winter, and the offer of different varieties is very limited. Spaghetti squash was never among them.
But hold the idea of squash – why not take summer squash? Zucchini are in season now, and they go perfectly with an Italian-style dish. So the idea of zucchini tagliatelle was born! A medium-sized zucchini makes a nice serving for one, and I suggest to make fresh zucchini tagliatelle if you eat several times from the sauce because they taste much better when they are freshly made. The sauce iself is good for leftover meals, though.
ZUCCHINI TAGLIATELLE WITH BOLOGNESE SAUCE
- olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 large brown onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into pieces
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 300 g (10 oz) minced beef
- 600 g (20 oz) canned tomatoes
- 1/2 tbsp dried basil
- 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tbsp dried thyme
- medium-sized zucchini (one per serving)
Heat oil in a pot and roast the garlic and onion until slightly brown. Add the carrots and roast everything for a minute or two, then add the minced beef and roast it from all sides. Use the cooking spoon to separate the meat into smaller chunks. When the meat is browned, add the canned tomatoes and season with salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and thyme. Bring the sauce to the boil, then reduce the heat, put the lid on, and let the sauce simmer for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, you have plenty of time to make the zucchini tagliatelle. Begin with cutting a zucchini into halves lengthwise.
Take one of the halves, turn it to the side, and cut tagliatelle using a vegetable peeler. Continue like this until all zucchini are sliced.
Heat some oil in a pan and roast the zucchini tagliatelle until they are soft and nicely browned. Carefully stir them with a cooking spoon to roast them from all sides. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve the zucchini tagliatelle with the bolognese sauce and enjoy.
Have you ever done a reinterpretation of a classic dish? If yes, which one was it, what did you change, and how did it turn out?