If you haven't noticed, I love Italian food. I feel like there's this recurring trend of pasta and pizza in my posts. It's a love affair I can't seem to quit. The family I cook for [have I mentioned I cook for a family?] wants to omit carbs as much as possible from their diet, which is commendable, but also torture for me. 90% of what I love to cook involves pasta, and it's something I've had to actively phase out of my repertoire. It takes some creative work to come up with alternatives for such a major food group, but sometimes, the results can be delicious.
I recently tried a recipe for "zucchini spaghetti" and of course it was absolutely nothing like a traditional pasta. That being said, I was really impressed with how it tasted. I've made spaghetti squash plenty of times, but zucchini is something I'd be more likely to have on hand.
My mom found this recipe on Martha Stewart's site, and I tweaked it to make it a bit more healthy. Don't get me wrong, I love me some heavy cream and there is absolutely a time and a place for it, I just try to keep it to a minimum. I also opted not to slice the zucchini as narrow as I paired this with seared scallops [something I've grown to love in recent years].
Zucchini Pasta with Seared Scallops in a Chive Cream Sauce
For the Zucchini:
1lb. zucchini, both ends cut off
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Mandoline [but this can also be done with a vegetable peeler, or a knife if you've got expert skills]
Slice zucchini in half, lengthwise. Then, slice lengthwise in long, thin strips [if done this way, the thickness is similar to that of pappardelle pasta]. Combine zucchini with salt and allow it to sit in a colander for 15 minutes.
Lay on paper towels to remove any excess water [the salt naturally draws out water from foods FYI].
For the Chive Cream Sauce:
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2/3 cup half and half [you can also use whole milk, but it's much thinner and affects the texture of the sauce]
1/3 cup freshly minced chives
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt [plus more to taste]
Whisk together all ingredients and allow it to sit [can sit covered in the fridge for an hour if need be]
For the Scallops:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
6-8 diver scallops, rinsed and dried
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Heat butter and oil on medium high heat [making sure not to burn butter]. Season scallops and cook for two minutes per side. The scallops will turn golden brown, while staying a creamy white at the center.
Combine 1/4 cup of sauce with zucchini. Place 2-3 diver scallops [per person] on top of a half cup of zucchini. Drizzle top with additional sauce, and a squeeze of lemon. Garnish with chives.
This is a perfect, simple, light summer meal. Enjoy!