Substitutions

I’ve been a little bad about my food for the last few weeks, between Mr. D. leaving and my grandfather’s funeral (and the several birthday and going away parties I’ve attended that included beer, wine, and cocktails). So this week, I’m back to tracking calories. I’ve also decided I’m going to try and go as low carb as I can. That’s not to say I won’t eat any bread, pasta, or rice, but I want to limit how much of those things I eat.  If I do eat them, I want them to be whole grain if possible and I want to avoid eating them in the evenings at dinner.

To that end, tonight’s meal was zucchini pasta with my famous homemade red sauce and a gorgeous golden tomato from the farmers’ market. The zucchini was actually what I believe is a costato romanesco, an Italian zucchini with beautiful pale green and white striations. This one was HUGE — so big, in fact, that it didn’t have the characteristic ribs that costata romanesco usually has — and so good. I knew it was good because I’d eaten half of it on Sunday night roasted with some super sweet candy onions. (That’s also a good recipe — slice the squash very thin and layer it in a circular pattern, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with your favorite spices (in my case, curry, turmeric, and coriander).  On Sunday I added thin slices of sweet onion between the layers of zucchini.)

At any rate, the costato romanesco has a mild, almost nutty flavor and paired really well with my yummy red sauce. After I cooked the “pasta,” I cut my giant golden tomato into thin wedges and laid them in the hot pan to get good and caramelized.  Very filling, very low carb, and full of locavore goodness. (Though the red sauce wasn’t made from fresh tomatoes — frankly, red sauce is a waste of good summer tomatoes, so I just use a good quality canned crushed tomatoes. I did use local garlic and onions in the sauce, though.)

In the past, I’ve tried the most common pasta substitute,  spaghetti squash, but it never seemed to taste right with traditional pasta sauces. In contrast, the zucchini pasta really works with pasta sauce — at least, red sauce. It doesn’t have a lot of its own, overpowering flavor like spaghetti squash does, so its a good canvas for more complex sauces. I think zucchini pasta would also go well with a light lemon butter or even an alfredo sauce (though if I’m going to eat alfredo, I’m going to go all the way with it — the way I make it, it’s basically just butter and cheese, and once you’re eating that, subbing in squash for the fettucine seems sort of irrelevant)

So my low-carb experiment is going well! And I know that if I get hungry later, I can have some of the blueberries I picked up at the farmers’ market today for dessert.

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