A high school friend of mine and his girlfriend are on the raw food diet and are also vegetarian. A while back over drinks, they told me about the wonders of the spiral slicer that can create beautiful spirals of vegetables — a perfect gadget for raw foodists, who, with it, could make raw vegetable “pastas” from carrots, zucchinis and the like. The idea of the spiral slicer stayed on my mind, and so I finally purchased one recently. There are a few types of spiral slicers out there, but I went with the Gefu Spirelli — and I LOVE it!
Our first spiraling effort was on a couple of zucchinis. With the thinner, 2 x 3 mm setting, we made gorgeous ribbons of zucchini.
These zucchini ribbons were perfect for my super simple lamb “bolognese” (recipe below), which I made last week when I came home from work later than usual and needed to make a simple, quick dinner. The zucchini ribbons were delicious and a great way to eat more vegetables along with the “bolognese.” Although we have cooked chopped zucchini with mince meat before, keeping the zucchini separate — in the form of “pasta” – prevented the tomato sauce from getting too watery. Because the zucchini ribbons were quite thin, they cooked fast, too. We loved the crunchy texture of the zucchini ribbons with the “bolognese,” and look forward to experimenting with spiral slicing other vegetables!
SUPER SIMPLE LAMB+OLIVE “BOLOGNESE”
I refer to this “bolognese” in quotations because it’s not really a bolognese in the classic sense (it’s just the closest dish relative I can think of). This dish takes obvious shortcuts on the idea of bolognese by using a ready-made tomato sauce and not cooking for hours. But it’s perfect for a busy workweek dinner, as it is easy and quick to make. Kalamata olives go so nicely with lamb, and the parsley gives the hearty bowl a lovely freshness.
- 2 lbs. ground lamb
- 4 red onions, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
- 1/2 bunch of parsley, chopped
- 1 jar of arrabbiata tomato sauce (I like Mario Batali’s Arrabbiata Sauce)
Drizzle some olive oil in a pot and heat over medium-high heat. Saute the onions and the garlic with some salt, and let the onions sweat. Once the onions soften, add the ground lamb and mix well using a wooden spoon. Cook, mixing frequently, for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce. Bring the heat down to medium and simmer for another 15 minutes or so, until the ground lamb is cooked through. Add the olives. Taste and season with salt as needed. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add the parsley, mix well.
Ladle the bolognese into a bowl and top with zucchini “pasta.”
**For the zucchini “pasta,” I used 2 zucchinis and spiral sliced them with the 2 x 3 mm setting. I then pan-sauteed the zucchini ribbons with a drizzle of olive oil and lightly seasoned them with salt and pepper. Cook the zucchini ribbons until just tender — don’t over cook! — about 5 minutes.