I come from an Italian family, so Sunday dinner at grandma’s house involved lots of pasta and heavy meats. The house was filled with the aroma of gravy (pasta sauce) cooking on the stove all day. The Italian sausage and homemade meatballs flavored the sauce. The dining room was filled with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins and us. There was nothing we loved more than to be at that table on a Sunday enjoying a pasta dinner (or as my grandparents always called it…macaroni and gravy).
I’ve taken my grandmother’s Sunday dinner from the heavy, meat laden meal to a plant-based one that my family loves. (She’s probably rolling over in her grave!) Italian sausage and meatballs have been replaced by Zucchini Pizza Boats. The pasta has been given a veggie-fied makeover combining fresh pasta with zucchini ribbons and a tomato sauce filled with veggies. Or, dare I say, skipping the pasta all together and using just zucchini and yellow squash as the noodles.
The first step in this recipe is to prepare the zucchini. Start by cutting each zucchini in half lengthwise. Then, using the back of a spoon, scoop out the center to form the boat.
Place the zucchini on a pan and bake at 425 for about 8 minutes just to start cooking them through. Remove from oven and add tomato sauce and cheese. Want even more veggies? Add whatever other veggies you like under the cheese…perhaps, sauteed mushrooms and onions, black olives or peppers. Switch up the sauce if you like….swap tomato for pesto.
Bake for about 5 minutes just to melt cheese and warm tomato sauce.
While the zucchini bake, prepare the pasta and zucchini ribbons. My new best friend in the kitchen for making veggie ribbons is the veggetti. I picked it up at Wegmans one day while I was in the produce section.
This thing is so easy to use even my 8 year can make the veggie ribbons. Once you have a zucchini or two cut into ribbons, simply add it to your pasta water. If you add it with pasta, wait to add it until the last 2-3 minutes of cooking time. It really just needs a quick blanch.
Serve Zucchini Pizza Boats with Zucchini Pasta Ribbons or by themselves with a salad!
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