Have You Spiralized Yet?

It's not the latest exercise trend. It's a way of cutting just about any vegetable into twirling pasta-like threads. If Ali Maffucci of Jersey City has her way, spiralizers will be as common in kitchens as colanders.

Maffucci, who just turned 27, became acquainted with the technique when her Mom tried spiralizing veggies to replace pasta to help control her diabetes.

After sampling a zucchini noodle dish, the daughter says, “I was blown away. I couldn’t believe how much it really tasted like pasta. Growing up Italian-American, pasta is really near and dear to my heart.”

Last year Maffucci left her career in event management to start inspiralized.com, a website and blog devoted to “the art of turning vegetables into noodles.”

Posting three or four new recipes a week–and demonstrating them at Williams-Sonoma stores–Maffucci recently attracted the attention of Random House Publishing and is now at work on a spiralizing cookbook to be released in 2015.

Although a variety of tools can be used to cut veggies into ribbons, Maffucci’s tool of choice, the Paderno World Cuisine Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer (Amazon $35.96), could be considered the Cadillac of spiralizers.

Looking a bit like a plastic pasta maker, the device stands on four suction cups to keep it still on the counter. Vegetables are mounted on a spiked disc with a hand-crank that feeds them through blades to create noodles of three different thicknesses–the equivalent of angel-hair, spaghetti or lasagna.

Maffucci became a vegan in college at Wake Forest and continued for a couple post-grad years. Although she is used to eating healthy foods, she says she is still amazed at what she can do with the spiralizer.  Beets, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes are just a few of the veggies she uses in  salads, soups, sandwiches, pizzas, pastas and even meat dishes.

“It feels like you’re eating something guilty," she says, "but you are eating a giant bowl of zucchini."

Vegetarians will enjoy her crock-pot cauliflower Bolognese sauce over zucchini noodles. Meat-eaters might try butternut squash and carrot noodles with sausage and kale. Seafood lovers will be drawn to spicy garlic crabmeat, feta and parsley over butternut squash "pasta."

By quickly pulsing the vegetable tendrils in a food processor, she creates what she calls “inspiralized rice” to serve risotto-style, in rice pudding and rice balls.

Some spiralized vegetables require brief boiling, baking or frying. Others can be eaten raw.

Here is a recipe to try:

Spicy Garlic Lump Crab Butternut Squash Pasta with Feta & Parsley

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 2


Ingredients

• olive oil, to drizzle
• 1 butternut squash, peeled, Blade C
• salt and pepper, to taste
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
• 3/4 cup lump crab meat
• 1/4 cup crumbled feta
• 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a baking tray, spread out the butternut squash noodles. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
3. Once the oven preheats, add in the butternut squash noodles. Cook for 7-10 minutes or until softened.
4. Next, in a large skillet, add in the olive oil. Once the oil heats, add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Then, add in the red pepper flakes and crab meat.
5. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes or until the crab meat is heated.
6. Place the butternut squash noodles in a bowl and pour in crab meat mixture.
7. Top with parsley and feta. Enjoy!

 

SUZANNE ZIMMER LOWERY is a food writer, pastry chef and culinary instructor at a number of New Jersey cooking schools. Find out more about her at suzannelowery.com.

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