I got a fun new kitchen toy. This doesn't happen often anymore because 1) I have a pretty solid arsenal of tools already and 2) I live in an exceptionally tiny house. While the kitchen is actually pretty roomy, it is nearly devoid of useful storage. Therefore, any tools I'm not using on a weekly basis are kept in clear plastic storage bins in the basement. And to get to the basement, you either have to go outside (great, it's definitely raining again), or crawl through a trap door in the floor of the closet and shimmy down a ladder. That's not an exaggeration. So I'm pretty selective about acquiring new things, and pretty darn good at donating or selling old ones.
I've been looking at the Paderno spiralizer for a year or two now. It didn't interest me at all in the beginning because I already own a de Buyer mandoline with the spiralizing rouet attachment. And I don't like it. I used it one time, and while the results met expectations, the process of spiralizing was just too difficult. You had to manually chop the zucchini down to fit it within the rouet, and then use the less-than-ergonomic crank to create spirals. The time it took exceeded my level of patience for that sort of task. And it didn't help that part of the crank fell off in my hand.
But lately I've been seeing lots of recipes on Pinterest that showcase spiralized vegetables as noodles ("zoodles," when using zucchini), and all of them use the Paderno spiralizer. I figured if this many people are raving about it, then maybe it's really worth checking out. So I redeemed some credit card rewards points for Williams-Sonoma gift cards and my four-blade spiralizer was on the way shortly after. (Credit card rewards points are awesome. It's like my spiralizer was free.)
This thing is EASY to use. The only manual chopping I had to do first was cut off the ends of my zucchini. And it gets better -- clean up is a breeze. I used a dish brush to knock any chunks off the blade and then put all the parts in the dishwasher. Zero hand washing needed. That earns it a five-star rating from me.
This recipe is perfect for a spiralizer. And possibly just plain perfect -- it's so good I made it twice within a week. The combination of sauteed mushrooms and creamy goat cheese is truly unforgettable here. Once you've had it, you will crave it. I made regular noodles and zucchini noodles just so I could compare, and it's excellent with both. If you use zucchini noodles, though, don't mix the noodles in with your pan of sauce -- place them in your individual serving bowls and ladle the sauce over instead. Even when well drained, zucchini noodles can still produce a bit of water, and if that happens, you don't want them to water down your awesome, excellent, can't-wait-to-make-it-again sauce.
Pasta with Mushrooms & Goat Cheese
Adapted from a recipe by Pinch of Yum
16 ounces farfalle pasta or 4-6 zucchini (if using zucchini noodles)
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
24 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (I used baby bella and shiitake)
1/4 cup minced garlic or shallots, or a combination of both
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups spinach, chopped
6 ounces goat cheese
freshly ground pepper
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet or pot over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until golden brown and soft, 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic/shallots and white wine and saute until shallots have softened, 3-5 minutes. Add the cream, salt, and broth and stir to combine.
Just before serving, stir in the Parmesan, chopped spinach, and goat cheese. Season with ground pepper and additional salt if needed. Stir in the pasta and serve immediately.*
* If you're using zucchini noodles, don't mix them in with your pan of sauce -- place them in your individual serving bowl and ladle the sauce over instead.