Anyone who has been to the grocery store recently has probably noticed the shelves of canned goods and non-perishables are sparse. As shoppers stock up for self-quarantines and the possibility of stricter lockdowns, they’re flocking to the long-lasting foods and often ignoring the produce departments, which generally remain stocked with myriad fresh fruits and veggies.
But, now’s the time to go for those greens. The nutrient-dense, plant-based foods are just what the doctor ordered to give your immune system a natural boost the middle of a health crisis. While many of us are finding ourselves cooped up at home with a lot of extra time on our hands, we have the perfect opportunity to learn a new skill, squeeze in a yoga session or try a new recipe from a revered local chef.
Rose O’Dell King, of Rosy Tomorrow’s Heritage Farm, shares an easy recipe to help you put those fresh ingredients to use. Her recipe for zucchini noodles (or zoodles, as some say) with pistachio, green herbs and ricotta is 100% vegetarian and can be made vegan if you swap the ricotta with silken tofu. “We love this recipe and have it all the time at home,” she says of the dish, which is adapted from a cookbook by the British food writer Anna Jones. “Her method of cooking the zucchini in a heatproof bowl with boiling water from a kettle poured over top is just a brilliant trick.” If you’re in a rush, skip frying the lemon slices. Although, if you’re going for something special, this step “takes the dish to sumptuous restaurant quality,” O’Dell says.
Zucchini Noodles with Pistachio, Green Herbs and Ricotta
What you’ll need:
- 9 ounces ricotta cheese (or silken tofu)
- 3 unwaxed lemons
- A pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 3 ounces shelled pistachios
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Small bunch of mint
- Small bunch of basil
- Sea salt
- 4 large (or 6 small) zucchinis
- Food processor
- Spiralizer or Y peeler (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Fill and boil a kettle of water and get all your ingredients together.
- Pour the ricotta out of its package onto a baking dish. Grate the zest of one lemon over the ricotta, sprinkle with a large pinch of red pepper flakes and drizzle with honey. Bake for 15 minutes, until caramelized on top.
- Put the pistachios into the oven and toast for 3-5 minutes.
- Heat a frying pan over high heat and thinly slice one of the zested lemons, discarding any seeds. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and fry the lemon slices until they are burnished and sticky.
- Take the pistachios out of the oven and pour into the food processor with the mint and basil leaves. Add juice of half the zested lemon, a good pinch of salt, 4 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of cold water. Pulse until you have a textured, grassy-green pesto, then transfer to a bowl.
- Use a spiralizer, food processor or Y peeler to make zucchini noodles. (If using a peeler, peel the zucchini into long, wide strips. Stack the slices on top of each other and use a knife to cut into strips.) Place in a heat proof mixing bowl, cover with boiling water from the kettle and let sit 2 minutes.
- Once the fried lemon slices are cool enough to handle, coarsely chop and mix into the pesto.
- Remove the ricotta from the oven.
- Drain the noodles well and toss with the pesto. Crumble the ricotta on top and finish with more lemon zest and a drizzle of olive oil.
For those days when you can’t bear the thought of cooking, these restaurants are still taking carryout orders. Remember, any time you eat or shop local these days, you’re doing a big part in helping ensure the future success of our community’s small businesses.