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May 19, 2014

Recipe: Zucchini noodles with tomato sauce

Zucchini noodles with tomato sauce*

This basic tomato sauce is easy to prepare and goes great with pasta, gnocchi or in Melanzane Parmigiana. The zucchini noodles are a healthier, grain-free alternative to standard pasta.

For the sugo:

1 tablespoon olive oil 1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, peeled

fine salt and freshly ground black pepper

optional: 1⁄2 a wine glass of red or white wine

2 x 400g tins good-quality chopped tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato purée

1 teaspoon caster sugar

1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 organic vegetable stock cube

Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and fry the onion for about 4 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the garlic to the onion and cook for 30 seconds; be careful not to let it burn. Pour in the wine, if using, and keep stirring for 2 minutes. The aim is to burn off the alcohol, leaving just a hint of the lovely wine flavour. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato purée, sugar, cayenne pepper and stock cube. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. Add salt and pepper to season to taste.

For the zucchini noodles:

As a rule of thumb, take 2 medium zucchini per person. Wash, top and tail the zucchini, but leave on the skin. Ideally, use a julienne blade to slice the zucchini lengthwise into long, thin spaghetti-like strands (otherwise a vegetable peeler or sharp knife will do). Slice the zucchini until you reach the seeds in the middle (don’t throw away what’s left, the rest of the zucchini can be used in other recipes). Separate the zucchini strands and remove excess water by transferring to a colander and leaving to stand for 15 minutes or by gently pressing with kitchen roll. You can either boil or, my preferred method, briefly sauté the zucchini in your preferred cooking oil.

* Sugo recipe courtesy of Michela Chiappa (

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