Ok, so you planted one too many zucchini plants and now you have an overabundant supply. Short of doing the drop and run, depositing baskets filled on neighbor’s doorsteps, what do you do with the excess? There are only so many ways of fixing zucchini. Well, that is what I thought until I read the book, The Classic Zucchini Cookbook: 225 Recipes for All kinds of Squash by Nancy C Ralston. The author has creatively figured out how to incorporate zucchini and other squash into all your meals. One of my favorite ways to use zucchini is to sneak it into spaghetti sauce. Adding zucchini is a great way to add extra nutrients into your meal without affecting the taste.
Spaghetti with Zucchini – Meat Sauce
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1½ pounds sweet or hot Italian sausage, removed from its casing
2 green bell peppers, minced
1 cup minced onion
1 clove of garlic, minced
3 medium sized zucchini, grated
2 cups seeded and chopped tomatoes
¼ – ½ cup jalapenos
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 pound spaghetti
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Begin heating a large pot of salted water for the pasta.
- In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat the oil over medium- high heat. Add the sausage, bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Saute until the meat is well browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the mixture to remove the excess fat.
- Add the zucchini, tomatoes, and jalapenos. Taste and add the lemon juice, crushed red pepper flakes, and salt. Simmer 30 minutes.
- While the sauce simmers, cook the spaghetti in the boiling water until just al dente. Drain briefly.
- Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl. Add the sauce and toss. Add the cheese and toss again. Serve hot.
This is the recipe that got me started with adding zucchini to my spaghetti sauce. I have personalized it for my family’s taste, adjusting the jalapenos and red peppers, and also adding mushrooms. There are many possibilities.