Reinterpretation of a Classic

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.


3 servings


  • 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.

~ look how beautifully they wind around the fork!  ~

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?

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Filed under Red Meat Dishes

51 responses to “Reinterpretation of a Classic

  1. You know I love it and will be making very soon. :)

  2. I love that idea of spaghetti squash I’ve never heard of that olive oil but it sounds delightful. =)

  3. Cel

    this sounds very delicious. I will try it as well! :)
    regarding our meeting this week, when would you have time? Thursday? :)

    • Oh, I hope you’ll like it! :D

      I’m quite stuffed this week because I’m currently also giving statistic tutorials to a friend three times a week, and collecting people for the study takes some time. I also give piano lessons on Thursday and Friday. So I usually have just two hours or so between two things, and then the next one starts. I don’t know if two or so hours are enough, I’d love to take more time for it. But perhaps we can just start with a little time like that and exchange some ideas, and then go on with a longer session? I really don’t know what the working is going to look like, I’ve never worked on a novel together with somebody else. :D

      Thursday would be okay from about 2 pm to 4:30 pm, if you can come to my place. Friday I have time in the later afternoon and evening, and I’ll have more time on the weekend, I think. We could also meet at your place, then. :)

  4. That looks so yummy but I have to say, I’d miss the spaghetti :P


  5. I adore courgette tagliatelle (British word for Zucchini, I never cease to be amazed by how many food items have different names, depending on whether you’re in England or America!). I’ve yet to find a spaghetti squash, despite lots and lots of searching :(

  6. mercade

    This recipe looks totally fabulous! I can’t wait to try it!

  7. I have been meaning to try veggies as noodles.. they look delish! :)

  8. If someone could make something as delicious like this for me I probably wouldn’t sneak bites of my daughter’s penne. But alas I don’t have the energy to come up with amazing concoctions like you do Kath and thus I continue to get stomach aches from the gluten I ingest….

    This looks amazing!

  9. Kath, that looks so good! Very creative. I feel like it would also be good with spaghetti squash, which is my less creative way pasta-free way of eating tasty pasta sauces.

  10. Persephone

    Yum, I love veggie tagliatelle! I am so sorry that you cannot find spaghetti squash, it is very delicious, and now I feel like a very spoiled American for being able to buy it. That being said, spaghetti squash tastes nothing like spaghetti and sometimes has a very very mild sweetness to it, which does not always mix with “italian” flavors, so I tend to mix with zucchini as you have. I have not tried it as tagliatelle (but must do so), I usually grate it so it is like little short spaghettis and use it raw. One thing that you might want to look for in the asian stores is shirataki noodles – these have more of a noodle texture and are good in both italian and asian dishes (like sesame noodles or noodles with peanut sauce). The one thing about these noodles is that you need to rinse them under hot water or boil them for a moment, as they have a strong smell out of the package (but are very yummy).

    I guess I always reinterpret classics to make them vegetarian. Some of my favorites are spaghetti and meatballs, beef with broccoli, Boeuf de Bourgignon and Coq au Vin (using vegetarian versions of the meat). The other changes are the amount of wine in the last 2, because they require quite a bit (which can get expensive) and I think a little goes a long way in terms of flavor. I have not made a vegetarian bolognese (always end up making meatballs for some reason), but will have to try this out.

    • Please, don’t feel bad about being a “spoiled” American! I wish I was, then I could buy that awesome stuff at the supermarket, and order raw vegan vanilla rice protein powder on Amazon! :D

      Your vegetarian adaptations sound amazing! Coq au Vin without the coq??? :D Tell me more! :D

  11. I wish I have a strong determination like you about carbs. I also cut veggies (carrots/gobo-burdock root/daikon) this way to make shabu shabu (do you know this dish?). It’s interesting how much we can actually eat by thinly peeling veggies. I would totally do the dieting if you live near me. You would be my great motivational factor. :-D

    • Oh, I love my carbs! Just not too many, and not from wheat. :)

      I know what shabu shabu is, but I’v never eaten it. I want to, though! I’d totally order this dish at a Japanese restaurant! (The only Japanese restaurants we have here are sushi restaurants, though, so no shabu shabu. :()

  12. ajh

    I think I need to take a leaf out of your book and make a concerted effort to eat more vegetables. My eating habits have gone off track a bit, and that maybe why I’m feeling a bit blah!

  13. Your sensitivity to olives must be like mine to orange, if you can taste olives in olive oil! Glad you’ve found an acceptable oil :) P.S. Keep your head up about the survey… you’ve got so many responses already!! :)

  14. I don’t know if they sell it in Germany, but I’ve found packaged sweet potato pasta here in Arizona!!! Look for it :) And that’s crazy about olive oil! I myself LOVE olives but am always super bummed I can’t even taste the olive flavor in the oil.

    Your “pasta” looks amazing however! Well done :)

  15. Des

    My favorite CD that I used to listen to was my “The Three Tenors” CD.
    “Libiamo Ne’ Lieti Calici” and “La Donna e Mobile” were my other favorite songs that they performed, but Nessun Dorma is the absolute best.

  16. Jos

    Yay, zucchini noodles! I think I made those before a while back…hmm..your post just reminds me to start making this again! :D

  17. this is genius, Kath!! I really want to do some of this – noodles from vegetables – and this one looks like the perfect place to start! (perhaps a REVERSE Cooking with Friends post on my blog??) :D

    I want a spiralizer – I think if I start with thinner noodles and a nice marinara that Jason LOVES, he would be more amenable to this… he isn’t really a fan of squashes… or I could do half veggies and half a quinoa spaghetti… something to ease him into the idea :)

    I love the first “smiley” after you talk about your distaste of olive oil – heee!

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  19. I have a spiral-er and I think Ihave shredded zuch at least weekly. My favorite right now is pesto and goat cheese with baby tomatoes. Also…have you tried balsamic creme? It is to die for!

  20. Yummy in my tummy. This looks fabulous! So excited. Love the idea of balsamic cream. Such a fabulous recipe; thank you for posting and so happy to have found your blog!

  21. Yummo Kath! I always change the classics around to suit my InTolerances, and sometimes the results are quite suprising!

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  23. lyntrinix

    I must try this too! I love bolognese sauce and always cook that for my family as they prefer it to others. ;)
    I love the way you cook the zucchini! Looks so delicoius! :D

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