I Can’t Believe It’s Not Pesto!
Don’t tell the picky eater in your household that this pasta sauce is a vitamin-charged Zucchini puree’- at least not until after they take the first bite. Only then should you fess-up to the secret-ingredient!
Italians often eat thick vegetable puree’s that have small minestrone-type pasta or rice floating in it- it’s almost like a chowder. Since these puree’s usually have a mix of veggies they’re often brown. About a month ago, as I was preparing this puree with just zucchini and coming up with a compelling argument to get my children to eat it, I realized that the puree is thick and velvety like a pasta sauce. With a heavier hand of basil and a touch of fresh garlic at the end I had a very, very close facsimile to a creamy pesto sauce.
We tried various combinations, like replacing the water with veggie stock, but arrived at this final recipe for it’s clean flavors and very delicate zucchininess – according to my children it’s almost pleasant. Almost… they insist, to keep their anti-zucchini position untarnished, while they spear the pasta with feverish gusto.
This sauce is the perfectly suited for cooking in the small pan that often comes with a pressure cooker set. The water for spaghetti boils in the stock pot cooker, while the sauce pressure cooks in the small pressure pan.
Don’t have a pressure cooker set? Don’t worry – this recipe will also work in stockpot-type cookers.
|Pressure Cooker||Accessories||Pr. Cook Time||Pr. Level||Open|
|3 L or larger||none||3 min||High(2)||Normal|
- Serves: 4 to 6
- Serving size: 1 portion
- Calories: 71.4
- TOTAL Fat: 4.7
- TOTAL Carbs: 7.5
- Sugar Carbs: 2
- Sodium: 586.4
- Fiber Carbs: 2.3
- Protein: 1.2
- Cholesterol: 0
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1½ pounds (750g) zucchini, roughly chopped
- ½ (125ml) to ¾ cup (185ml) water
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 bunch basil, leaves picked off
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly minced
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- In the pre-heated pressure cooker, on medium heat add the oil and onion and saute until the onions begin to become soft (about 4 minutes).
- Add the zucchini, salt and water (1/2 cup for stovetop and ¾ cup for electric cookers).
- Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
- Electric pressure cookers: Cook for 3 minutes at high pressure.
Stovetop pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached high pressure, lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 3 minutes pressure cooking time.
- When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Normal release - release pressure through the valve.
- Toss in the basil leaves and garlic.
- Using an immersion blender puree' the contents of the pressure cooker until all of the garlic and basil are fully incorporated.
- Mix with freshly strained pasta and serve immediately with a swirl of extra-virgin olive oil-.
Yeilds enough sauce for 16oz (500g) pasta package.