FRESH TOMATO ZUCCHINI PASTA

You need to make this because:
a) zucchini is in season right now
b) so are tomatoes
c) this is the freshest combination of ingredients you can put in your body to compliment a spring evening and make you feel like a million bucks

Simple simple dish, but so perfect at this time of year. To julienne the zucchini I used my trusty $4.99 peeler from Cucina Moderna (similar found here). It's a piece of cake. If you have a spiralizer, that will work wonders as well. Local fresh zucchini, tomatoes and herbs are littering our markets and grocery stores right now, so get em while you can Halifax!

Tofu is optional, I just wanted a little protein and Acadiana smoked tofu is such a treat I couldn't resist. Chicken would be great, or edamame. Any meat substitute from portobello mushrooms to lentils would work just fine too!

Zucchini Tomato & Basil Pasta
serves 2

2 small-medium sized zucchini, julienned 
1 cup spinach, diced
4-5 fresh vine ripe tomatoes 
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped + more for garnish
1/4 cup parmesan + more for garnish
1 small yellow onion or shallot, diced finely
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano and parsley (fresh would so much preferred)
1 100g block of Acadiana smoked tofu (found at The Local Source or The Carrot)
salt and pepper to taste

Julienne your zucchini, and preferably, with cheese cloth, squeeze out excess liquid over the sink. Another way to do this is by sprinkling salt on the zucchini and putting it in a strainer over the sink or a bowl to extract the water. Leave it for 10 minutes or so and gently squeeze it to let go of some of the excess water.

Dice your spinach and tofu and combine with zucchini. Toss all with olive oil to coat and again, a pinch or two of salt to taste. Set aside.

Finely dice your tomatoes, basil and onion. Over medium heat sauté onion, garlic and salt to taste until your onion is transparent, about 6 minutes. Add your oregano and parsley and sauté for additional minute or two, until fragrant. 

Add your tomatoes and basil and turn up heat slightly to bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Stir frequently and with a spatula or fork start mashing your tomatoes to resemble a sauce. Turn heat back down to med-low and let stew for as long as you like. I left mine for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add your parmesan and stir until melted and combined into the sauce. Salt and pepper to taste people, always.

Heat up a teaspoon of oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Add your zucchini, spinach and tofu. Stir constantly until spinach is wilted and your zucchini and tofu is warmed throughout. Careful not to overdue it, as your spinach and zucchini will get chewy. You just want to warm the mixture, not fry it completely!

Top your warmed noodle mix with tomato sauce and garnish with fresh parmesan, basil and cracked pepper!

EAT!