This is probably the ugliest photo of a plate I’ve ever put on this site.
But this zucchini “fettuccine” is one of the most popular vegetables I ever made as a private chef, and one that family members have loved and recreated after I’ve made it for them.
It’s ridiculously simple. With a good vegetable peeler and a flick of the wrist, zucchini gets shredded in ribbons and tossed quickly in hot olive oil until it softens to an al dente-like texture. My former boss didn’t know it wasn’t pasta the first time I served it to him. My father downed his plate in minutes. A client’s guest asked me for details at a repeat dinner visit when he couldn’t quite replicate it after his first go.
So simple, so yummy.
I put this recipe together for a food delivery service (chefs create recipes, the company supplies all ingredients pre-measured and with instructions) that was to take professional photos of the plate, hence this shoddy iPad shot for their reference. The next time I make this for dinner I’ll maybe reshoot it. But it’s such a comforting replication of a gluten-free comfort food that I usually plate and inhale. So this may be the best we get.
Black Pepper Shrimp and Zucchini “Fettuccine”
• ½ lb medium shrimp, peeled (with tails on or off)
• 3oz shitake mushrooms
• 4 large or 6 small zucchini (mostly green)
• 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
• 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 2 large cloves garlic, sliced thin
• ½ lemon, sliced
• 1 tsp cracked black pepper
• ½ tsp paprika
• 1 tsp dried basil
• 1 tsp Herbs de Provence
• Sea salt to taste
• 1 oz Pecorino Romano cheese, shredded
Remove stems from shitakes and slice into ½ inch slices. Set aside.
With a vegetable peeler, peel zucchini lengthwise into a large bowl in long strips, constantly turning the zucchini so that you get strips of about ½ inch consistently. Stop peeling when you get to the seeds.
In a small bowl, toss shrimp with all of the cracked black pepper, the paprika and a good pinch of sea salt.
When all is ready, in a large sauté pan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter on medium heat. Add the mushrooms and toss very quickly to coat, then cook until they release their liquid (they’ll look very dry for a few minutes, and then release), about 3 minutes. Remove to a bowl. In the same sauté pan, add the second tablespoon of butter and melt on medium heat. Add the shrimp and toss to coat, then cook until just cooked through, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Add to the reserved mushrooms. Squeeze ½ of the lemon and toss to coat, then set aside.
In a very large saucepan, heat the olive oil and garlic together on medium/high heat. When hot, toss in the zucchini, turning completely to coat. Toss in all of the basil and Herbs de Provence, plus salt to taste. Keep on tossing while it cooks, until it gets to the texture of al dente pasta, about 6-8 minutes. It will reduce dramatically in size and start to stick if not constantly moved.
To serve, fill bowls with the “pasta” and top with shrimp, then sprinkle with shredded Pecorino.
Serve with wedges of the remaining lemon.