Meatless Monday: Zucchini Ribbon Pasta

By: Patty Lee
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EK-0503 Zucchini Ribbon Pasta, Zucchini Ribbon Pasta

Photo by: Marshall Troy ©2012,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Marshall Troy, 2012,Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

Some of the best April Fools' jokes have been food-related — remember the left-handed Whopper and Cheetos perfume? While we wait and see what creative fast ones restaurants will pull on us this year, you can play a higher-brow culinary prank at home by tricking everyone at the dinner table into eating more veggies. Using a mandoline, slice green and yellow zucchinis into a tangle of vibrant ribbons that are easily disguised as noodles. Topped with a flurry of Parmesan, parsley, basil and red pepper flakes, the snappy strips of squash blend so seamlessly with whole-wheat fettucine, we bet your unsuspecting diners won't realize the hoax until they've devoured the entire veggie-loaded plate.

3/4 pound whole-wheat fettuccini
2 medium green zucchini (about 1 pound)
2 medium yellow zucchini (about 1 pound)
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup grated (1-ounce) Parmesan (lightly packed), plus 2 tablespoons

1/3 cup finely minced parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
1 cup thinly sliced basil leaves, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Salt

In a large pasta pot, cook pasta "al dente", 1 or 2 minutes less than the package instructions call for. Drain.

Meanwhile, slice off ends of zucchini and discard. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise. Using a mandoline, or carefully with a sharp knife, slice zucchini into very thin (about 1/8-inch) slices, trying to keep some skin on each piece for color. Stack slices and cut in half lengthwise. Reserve zucchini ribbons in a large bowl.

In the pasta pot, heat the olive oil over low-medium heat. Add garlic and cook until soft and translucent but not browned, about 1 minute. Add zucchini ribbons and 1/4 cup chicken broth, raise heat to medium-high and cook until zucchini is still somewhat firm but just cooked, about 3 minutes. Return pasta to pot and add remaining chicken stock; cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until liquid has mostly absorbed into the pasta. Add 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, parsley, basil, red pepper flakes, black pepper and toss to combine. Season with salt, to taste. Serve garnished with additional parsley, basil and the remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese.

More Meatless recipes for April Fool's Day:
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