My mother-in-law grew a massive zucchini this summer. Or rather, she couldn’t keep up with her zucchini (as is always the case with those prolific plants) and before she knew it, she found this behemoth hiding in the vines.
This baby measured 20 inches in length and weighed in at almost 5 pounds! When zucchini gets to this size, I typically reserve it for soup (like my favorite, Curried Zucchini Soup). But this time… Why not make something a little different that will also put my bumper crop of tomatoes to use? I think this recipe is the perfect send-off for summer, utilizing the last bits of our warm-weather crops before the cool-weather greens start to roll in.
I turned this monster into a mountain of zucchini “noodles,” long ribbons of zucchini that give you a rich and satisfying pasta-like feel without the resultant food coma. You can easily make zucchini noodles with a julienne peeler, the julienne blade of a mandoline, or this nifty contraption: the spiral vegetable slicer.
A friend gave me a spiral slicer several months ago as he thought it would be fun for my Garden Betty recipes. Though it’s insanely handy for breaking down large amounts of vegetables into less intimidating strips and slices, it’s not something I used often because a peeler or mandoline fits most of my (two-person household) cooking needs. But for zucchini noodles, the spiral slicer is amazing — though I’ll also show you how to use a good ol’ fashioned peeler if you don’t need to make a mound of them.
Add slow-roasted tomatoes to this dish and it becomes a really lovely lunch. If your end-of-season tomatoes aren’t quite ripe yet, or a little bland on the tastebuds as the plants start to wither, roasting them is a wonderful way to concentrate the flavor and bring out their natural sweetness (as well as the sweetness of the garlic). You can use larger varieties of tomatoes if those are all you have, but you’ll need to roast them for a little longer.
Store-bought pesto works just as well as homemade, but if you still have some basil hanging in there, throw those into a blender and make your own for a truly end-of-summer meal.
Lastly, don’t worry about trying to grow your own 5-pound zucchini; I scaled down this recipe so it’ll make a manageable amount of food (and not one that’ll feed the Duggar family!).