In my family, there are two types of tomato-based pasta sauce. Easy sauce, and proper sauce. Easy sauce, with its simple ingredients of garlic, basil, tomatoes, sugar and salt, lends itself to midweek cooking. Proper sauce, rich with pork bones and tender polpette (meatballs), is something you put on to slowly cook away on a Sunday morning to eat at lunchtime (if you’re in Italy) or dinner (at my house!).
I could eat pasta for every meal. It’s not such a strange thought. The bacon and egg combination for breakfast neatly translates to a carbonara sauce. The flat pasta sheets of a lasagne are a perfect replacement for the two slices of bread that wrap up a sandwich. Is my pasta obsession/end of week delirium coming across yet?
It must have been this delirium that led me to consider substituting out my beloved pasta for zucchini. The rational part of my brain knows that zucchini does not a pasta substitute make. But Thursdays are Adam’s baked potato night (I could spend three hours in the kitchen making the most amazing meals, and would not get the recognition that a baked potato does) so it’s a good night to experiment.
This sauce serves one hungry person and involves two steps:
1. Heat 1T oil and add a smashed, peeled garlic clove. Cook until fragrant, but not brown
2. Add in tomatoes – the rest of my family uses tinned tomatoes, I often use around 200g cherry or grape tomatoes, both work, a pinch of sugar, some basil and parsley and leave to cook over a low heat for as long as you can allow (Mum says 1 hour!)
3. While your sauce is on to cook, get started on your zucchini noodles (Zoodles!) – you will just need a zucchini and a mandolin for this job. My mandolin was an excellent investment, it makes this job so easy. Your zucchini noodles will only need 2 minutes in the microwave (or fry them up with a bit of oil in a hot frying pan).
Serve with a little grated Parmesan in the top – we all do need dairy, after all!
The sauce was so good that I could almost fool myself that I was eating spaghetti. Almost! Give this recipe a go, even if just for our family secret “easy” sauce served with “proper” pasta!