Recipe — Zucchini ‘pasta’ with Always Fresh olives and Barilla pasta sauce 1

I like to keep my cup­board stocked with plenty of non-perishable ingre­di­ents ready to throw together into a quick meal.  One of my favourite pantry reg­u­lars is the Bar­illa range of pasta sauces.  I have always pre­ferred the Bar­illa pasta over the other brands, so when the local super­mar­ket started stock­ing other Bar­illa prod­ucts I was keen to try them as well.  I was not dis­ap­pointed — the pesto is amaz­ing, and the pasta sauces are very tasty with the added bonus of being free of any strange addi­tives or starchy thick­en­ers which some other pasta sauces con­tain.  This means that I can make recipes (such as the one in this post) that are almost com­pletely starch free when­ever I like.  I’m not a coeliac, but  at one stage thought I would have to cut starch from my diet, so I did spend a few weeks exper­i­ment­ing with starch free cook­ing. The recipe on this page was one of my sav­iours dur­ing those dif­fi­cult weeks (I dis­cov­ered almost every­thing con­tains some sort of starch!)

I’d sug­gest any­one grab a jar of this pasta sauce from the shelf and take a look at the ingre­di­ents — it’s all toma­toes, spices and veg­eta­bles, just as you would make it at home.  There are absolutely no bizarre, unrecog­nis­able ingre­di­ents or scary addi­tive num­bers.  These days it’s a relief to see an ingre­di­ents list that reads just like a recipe!  And you do not have to use pasta sauces only with pasta — you can use them to beef up soup, or in a baked veg­etable slice or really any­thing you can think of.

One of my other pantry reg­u­lars are jars of Always Fresh olives.  I pre­fer the Sicil­ian green olives for snack plat­ters (with cheese and pick­les!), but for cook­ing the Kala­mata olives pro­vide a richer flavour. I have tried a lot of olives in jars over the years, and these seem to be the best olives out­side of the deli, which is great because deli olives aren’t always that prac­ti­cal. I have, from time to time, tried other brands of olives but none have mea­sured up — and in fact the last brand I tried (an inhouse super­mar­ket brand) went into the bin almost straight away they were so awful.

But that’s enough dis­cus­sion of the ingre­di­ents — on to the recipe.

Recipe — Zuc­chini ‘pasta’ with olives and pasta sauce

The base of this ingre­di­ent is the zuc­chini ‘pasta’, which is sim­ply zuc­chini cut into long thin strips slightly thicker than fet­tucine. These are then sautéed in a deep fry­pan or heavy based saucepan with what­ever other ingre­di­ents you hap­pen to have.  Today just hap­pened to be an olive and tomato sauce based version.

  1. Cut your zuc­chini into long thin slices (the longer they are the more like pasta it will appear). I also sliced up leek and halved baby roma toma­toes. For this recipe I used two — zuc­chini but I ended up with too much pasta sauce so you could use at least one more.
  2. Sautée the veg­eta­bles on a rel­a­tively high heat until the zuc­chini begins to soften a lit­tle.  At this point I also added a clove of gar­lic I had squeezed in a gar­lic press.  Don’t let the zuc­chini get too soft as it will con­tinue to cook while you add the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Add the other ingre­di­ents to warm through — in my case a few dozen Always Fresh kala­mata olives, a few sprigs of Ital­ian pars­ley and some Don sliced ham.
  4. Lastly pour in the pasta sauce and stir through briefly so it heats through — but not too long or your veg­eta­bles will get soggy.
  5. Now it’s ready to put on the plate, topped with a small amount of thinly sliced cheese.

Not only is this recipe deli­cious — it’s also very healthy.  I have tried ver­sions with­out pasta sauce, and also with but­ter beans, mush­rooms and aspara­gus and other veg­eta­bles.  Leave out the ham and it’s also veg­e­tar­ian, while still being hearty enough to stop you miss­ing the meat or the carbs.

Have you tried cook­ing with zuc­chini this way or have any other feed­back or uses for pasta sauce? Please leave a com­ment below.

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