Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Homemade Life: Zucchini Noodles with Pesto

By now y'all know I'm a sucker for a Halloween event.  So when I saw Sea World was doing a Halloween Spooktacular, I knew we had to attend.  Especially after the fun we had at Legoland.

The only problem was, I had to work pretty much all weekend.  So I decided that instead of an evening affair, we would take advantage of the fact that the event started at 11am so I could get a couple hours in before heading to work.

The park was decorated for the Spooktacular, with a special area dedicated to Halloween costumed characters, a dance floor, and Halloween activities.

But it wasn't just limited to this area, there were fun Halloween decorations everywhere!

Even the animal exhibits were all decked out for the holiday.

And throughout SeaWorld were little trick-or-treat stations where they would hand out candy to the kids.

I'm not sure if it was because of how over-the-top Legoland was, but I was a little disappointed by this event.  There were so few kids in costume that Thatkid asked to take his off fairly soon after we got in. 

And while Thatkid was happy with all the candy, I was a little spoiled by the mixture of candy and some healthier snacks we had picked up the week before.

But I did enjoy spending time with my boys.

And in order to hit up all the treat stands, we ended up seeing parts of SeaWorld we'd never ventured to before.  And meeting new animal friends.

I spent the rest of the weekend working, not coming home until late at night, leaving the boys to fend for themselves.  To an extent.  Because when I'm gone, I try to leave food that's easy for Thatboy to heat up and serve, and something I know Thatkid will gobble down.  Like pasta.  Most places are probably at the end of basil season, but since it's been so warm here, I can still pick it up easily.  For the rest of the world, pesto is one of those things that freezes beautifully.  I like to freeze it in ice cube trays so I can defrost just what I need!

"Zoodles" or zucchini noodles are all the range these days with fancy schmancy spiralizers being marketed everywhere you turn.  I actually prefer these easy mandoline version, mixed with spaghetti instead of an alternative to spaghetti.  It adds some great veggies into the meal while keeping the satisfying bite of al dente pasta.

Zucchini Noodles with Pesto (From A Homemade Life)
2 cups tightly packed basil leaves, washed and dried well
1/2 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp pine nuts
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
3 medium zucchini, trimmed
3 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 lb dried spaghetti
finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving
  1. Put the basil leaves in a large heavy-duty ziplock plastic bag.  Press all the air from the bag, and seal it carefully.  Put the bag on the countertop and using a rolling pin, pound the bag until all the leaves are bruised.
  2. Put the pounded basil, olive oil, pin nuts, garlic, and salt in the bowl of  a food processor. Process to a smooth, creamy consistency,.  Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.
  3. Stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  4. Put a large pot of salted water over high heat.  While the water heats, prepare the zucchini.  Using a mandoline slicer  fitted with the julienne blade, carefully slice the zucchini into long, skinny noodles, each the width of a strand of spaghetti.
  5. Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the zucchini "noodles" and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but not mushy, 5 to 8 minutes.
  6. When the pot of water boils, drop in the spaghetti.  Cook until al dente.  Using a pair of long--handled tongs, scoop the pasta directly from the pot into the skillet of cooked zucchini.Add 1/2 cup of the pesto and toss the mixture well to ensure that each noodle has a thin, even coat of sauce.
  7. Serve immediately with additional salt and lots of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

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