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

Poke Bar Come to Costco
Northern California
by Amy Sherman

pokebar1One of the many things I enjoy eating in Hawaii is poke. It’s a raw fish dish, that generally combines fresh yellowfin tuna, also known as ahi, with local ingredients like seaweed, Hawaiian salt...

Read more...
Hotel Crandon Restaurant
Mid-West
by Scott R. Kline

hotelcrandon_7515.jpgThe Hotel Crandon Restaurant in Crandon, Wisconsin came highly recommended from the ladies at the local visitor’s bureau. Seems the husband of one of them liked their Hotel Heart Attack burger...

Read more...
The Bar Room at The Modern: Not Just Any Cafe
New York
by Brenda Athanus

BarRoomMy friend, Barbara and I were escaping the icy tundra of Maine for a long weekend in New York City to indulge in great food, theater and art.

We started our Sunday morning at the MOMA as the doors...

Read more...
The Nugget Diner
Las Vegas
by Scott R. Kline

thenugget.jpgThe Nugget Diner in Reno, Nevada represents much of what Reno is all about. From a run down strip near downtown Reno, one enters through the gaudy exterior, which portrays a nugget of gold...

Read more...