RECIPE #448, DAY #672
ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Cheesy Zucchini Noodles with Bacon,” from April’s Food Network Magazine*
TIMING: 45 minutes (during which you could saute a nice chicken breast with lemon)
TOOLS: A spiralizer (hand-held or stand-alone), spaghetti-like blade, normal pans and utensils
COOK TYPE: Stovetop, oven
HEALTH: You would think that veggie noodles would make a meal healthy, and it helps, but with the heavy cream sauce and bacon, the whole thing feels decadent. It is, but only a little. Mainly, it’s veggies on veggies, with a little protein. In other words, it’s a mixed bag, but a low-carb delight.
EXPERIENCE: I’ve had a spiralizer on my Amazon wish list since they started becoming popular, last year. When the new Food Network Magazine arrived with a few weeknight spiralizer recipes arrived, I decided just to use the grocery budget to buy one. (I did my due diligence with reviews and bought a cheap one.)
What is a spiralizer, you ask. Basically, it makes vegetables into “noodles” of various shapes. You can cook the noodles to make a low-carb, high-nutrient version of pasta. With the whole low-carb rage, zucchini noodles, in particular, have become a thing that appears on dinner tables across the country, every night of the week. You can even find whole cookbooks devoted to the spiralizer (of course!). Inspiralized. The Healthy Spiralizer Coookbook. Spiralize It! Zoodles.
So this was our first experience with veggie “noodles.”
I’m sure I have plenty more to learn about the finessing of zoodles, but these turned out pretty good. However, the recipe was just too rich. I changed it up a little bit for you. And if you love bacon, this might be a good way to introduce yourself to veggie “noodles.”
NOTES: Make sure to cut the zoodles into noodle-length strands before cooking them. I neglected to do this, and they were really difficult things to cut on the plate.
It is also possible to buy vegetable “noodles” at some stores, already spiralized. This is probably a great way to try them first.
- Lay out 2-4 slices of bacon in a sheet pan with roasting rack. Set in the oven and heat to 425F. Pull out when the bacon is done, but leave the oven on.
- Meanwhile, spiralize 3 medium-large zucchinis into spaghetti-like noodles. Cut into spaghetti-length pieces. Set aside.
- As soon as bacon is done, remove the bacon and rack from the pan. In the grease (which should be no more than 1 tablespoon) on the hot pan, toss 1 pint of halved cherry or grape tomatoes with some salt and pepper. Put pan back in the oven for 10 minutes, until wilted and browning. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, melt 1 tablespoons unsalted butter over medium heat. Whisk in 1 tablespoon all purpose flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in 1 cup milk, ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard, and a pinch of cayenne. Continue to whisk until sauce has thickened.
- Reduce heat to low and whisk in 1/3 cup extra sharp cheddar. Set sauce aside.
- In a non-stick skillet or, better yet, a wok, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the zoodles and saute, tossing, until they are the proper noodley consistency. Salt and pepper, and stir in the sauce and most of the tomatoes. Add some hot water if it needs loosening.
- Taste for seasonings, then top zoodles with the rest of the tomatoes, the broken-up bacon, and 1 sliced scallion. Serve each portion with a lemon wedge for spritzing before eating.
Serve with a chicken breast, either baked or grilled. Also, a glass of white wine.
LEFTOVER IDEAS: This can be eaten the next day, cool or room-temp. I might add a little hot broth to loosen it up.
*Recipe changed from the original.