The Spiralizer

by Alison Wonderland Tucker
Print Email

spiral-1024x682Now, I generally steer clear of plastic cooking tools that look like the crap sold on tv at 3:00 am. It dices! It slices! Hey, guess what? I do too! But a client of mine had ripped a page from her Williams Sonoma catalog with a picture of a vegetable extruder and I was intrigued. I did some investigating and found one a little cheaper on Amazon made by Bitoni with the magic words… lifetime replacement warranty. Now we’re talkin’.

It’s important to say that I was, at that time, thinking only of my clients. I had no intention of actually enjoying this product myself. I like my pasta, dammit. You’re not going to convince me this is an acceptable substitute.

It’s also important to say that I don’t work for Bitoni. I’m not a Bitoni stockholder. I’m not trying to get you to buy one.

When it arrived, I had three challenges for the machine:


1 - I didn’t think the extrusion would be substantial enough to stand up to a sauce. I didn’t like the idea of a vegetable mellowing the “pasta” experience. But I was wrong. The “noodles” created by the machine are thick and long enough to create a toothsome meal. I also thought that I would only want to pair the veggie noodles with veggie sauces and that turned out to be untrue. I made an all’ Amatriciana (guanciale, onions, tomatoes, red pepper flakes) and it was outstanding. Ragus have also been deliciously successful. I’ve been having a fantastic time playing with the culinary possibilities.

vegpasta2 - Regular pasta acts like a sponge when it gets into a sauce. Would the un-absorbing zucchini clash with the sauce? Would it slide off? Also, I always add some of the pasta water to the sauce when I toss the noodles in. That starchy water adds body and flavor. How much taste would I lose without the starchy pasta/ starchy water? The answer was simple. I needed to reduce my sauces a little more than normal by simmering an extra 10 minutes or so. If the sauce was thick, the zucchini noodles could hold their own. There are definitely some sauces that I wouldn’t do with zucchini noodles, e.g. cacio e pepe, which depends on the magic of starchy pasta water for success, but tomato sauces with or without meat, vegetable sauces and pestos are great.

3 - I just didn’t think that it would make me feel full. There was no way in my mind that a half a zucchini with sauce would be enough. When I eat pasta, I EAT PASTA. I can put two full bowls of pasta away without a second thought. How in the world is one measly bowl of zucchini gonna fill those shoes? But here’s the thing: the blood sugar spike that comes with a bowl of pasta doesn’t happen when there’s no pasta. The veggies play nicely without triggering the need for more, so actually you eat less and feel satisfied sooner. I also don’t need to take a nap as soon as I’m done eating.

I know. It really sounds like I’m a Spiralizer rep. I’m not, I promise. I simply appreciate having my perspective changed. I also like the fact that I can come home from a busy day in the kitchen and put my dinner together in about 5 minutes. I often have fresh sauces in my fridge, so I spin a zucchini through the machine, nuke the sauce for a minute or two and voila! Dinner is served.


Alison Wonderland Tucker is a chef and caterer who lives and works in New York City. She writes about her love of food and life as a chef on her blog A Wonderland of Words.  


Comments have been closed for this piece.


restaurant news

London Hutong at the Shard: I'm Sexy and I Know It
London - British Isles
by Nancy Ellison

shardbuildingIt may have started with the London cabbies, but the city’s new skyscrapers all have affectionate but cheeky nicknames: Can of Ham, Cheesegrater, Gherkin, Walkie-Talkie, and the Shard to name a...

Hel's Kitchen: I Itz at Mugaritz
by Bruce Cormicle

mugaritz.jpgThe 3-star Michelin restaurant Mugaritz (rated 3rd in the Top Fifty Restaurants of the World) is high up in hills of Errenteria, Spain twenty minutes outside of San Sebastian. It is...

R+D Kitchen and M Cafe
Los Angeles
by David Latt

newcafes.jpgYabu, Il Fornaio and Musha are my favorite restaurants. They have great food and they're comfortable and affordable. I'd go to them every week if I could. Having said that, without realizing it,...

Beverly Hills Meets Palm Beach at Cafe L'Europe
by Nancy Ellison

palmbeachflorida.jpgJust for fun, close your eyes. Picture Zsa Zsa dining at Bistro Garden or Liz at Chasen’s – bejeweled and pleasing to the eyes. Imagine charming George Hamilton tanned and natty in his double-...