ZUCCHINI NOODLES with QUICK SUNDRIED TOMATO AND BASIL PESTO - NO COOKING! (DOESN'T IT LOOK LIKE PASTA?)
I do not like sundried tomatoes and yet I love this sauce. As you can see, Izzy is looking to get a mouthful of this deliciousness. (she didn't, by the way).
The beauty of this dish is that there is no cooking. I guarantee you wont miss the pasta. In fact, I find the zucchini far preferable to pasta with this dish because it brings a sweetness and a brightness to a sauce that is otherwise dense and earthy. By my taste buds’ standards, this sauce and the zucchini noodles are a perfect marriage.
10 – 20 Sundried tomatoes
½ cup – 1 cup fresh basil leaves
½ cup parmesan cheese (more, if you love cheese)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
20 capers (optional – they add a note of saltiness)
1 – 2 cloves garlic
3 – 4 tablespoons pine nuts (you can substitute almonds or cashews if you like)
5 - 10 olives, either green, or calamata, your choice.
4 - 8 tablespoons heavy cream or milk or half and half or any other white milk–like liquid you desire (this is a new addition... I made this without the cream or milk many times. I just decided to try it. If you don't want it, leave it out. You'll love it either way - well, maybe you wont, actually. Just because I love it doesn't mean you will).
½ a jalapeno pepper (optional – if you don't like spicy foods, leave this out. The dish wont suffer in the slightest)
Pepper to taste
Water for thinning as needed
4 oz (or thereabout) Mozzarella cheese cut into 1/3 inch cubes.
12 cherry tomatoes quartered
6 zucchini, spiralized with the thin noodle blade
Put all the ingredients EXCEPT the zucchini mozzarella and cherry tomatoes in the processing device of your choice (blender, ninja, food processor, vitamix, etc). I usually put the sundried tomatoes, basil, and olive oil in first and blend until well mixed. Then I add the parmesan cheese and blend some more. Now’s about the time I add some of the cream (or milk) and add the garlic, capers, olives, jalapeno and I grind in some black pepper. Blend until fairly smooth, but expect to still see the cheese and other ingredients in little bits. This Picture should help you with consistency:
You probably wont ever get this really perfectly smooth without adding tons more olive oil and I just don’t think you want to do that. Granular smoothness is good enough. This should be very very thick. I taste at this point and decide if I want more garlic or more saltiness (add more capers or olives if you want it saltier) or more jalapeno if I want more spice. I might add a little water at a time just to get the sauce a bit more spreadable.
When everything is as I like it, I either put it in a container to refrigerate or if we’re ready for dinner I put it on top of spiralized zucchini noodles and toss well. If my sauce is really thick I sometimes put on rubber gloves and massages it into the noodles. I top the platter of noodles with the quartered cherry tomatoes and the mozzarella cubes and toss again.
PS…. If you are wanting leftovers I suggest that instead of mixing everything together in a large bowl, you have everyone take their portion of zucchini and add the sauce individually. Overnight the sauce soaked zucchini might get a bit too watery.
Note that my photo doesn’t show the cubed cheese or tomatoes…. At times I prefer the sauce alone without these chunks.