La Cucina Povera is an Italian phrase meaning "poor kitchen" or "peasant cooking." In the past, this peasant cooking style aimed to use those ingredients on-hand and available in the kitchen, garden, farm or ocean. Simply put: making do with what they had. Humble dishes, made of the highest quality ingredients available, that spoke for themselves.
In our apartment, even when the state of the cupboards and fridge are grim, generally some form of nut, legume, vegetable, and/or grain can be found. This Cucina Povera inspired dish is a favourite of ours during those times, and has become a regular on the weekly rotation. Not only for the convenience of the ingredients, but with nourishing, fresh and savoury flavours, it's so delicious I'd miss a week without it.
We use a Spiralizer for the zucchini. I'd like to say you could finely slice your zucchini or shred it, but changing the texture and consistency of the dish would completely change the flavours and experience. If there is one kitchen tool I will never regret purchasing, it's the Spiralizer. Efficient, quick and clean, the value of this little device will exceed your expectations. Also, I'll be sharing plenty of ways to use it in posts to come. Do yourself a favour and grab one today.
Kale chips are easy to make, and really elevate the dish. Sure, you can enjoy it without, but you won't mind the extra step once you experience the sea salt flavoured crunch throughout.
Zucchini & Soba Noodle with Spinach Basil Pesto is topped with sun-dried and cherry tomatoes, cashews, pine nuts and kale chips. Loaded with protein, amino acids, B vitamins, minerals and antioxidants (the list goes on), one can guiltlessly take comfort in this dish while enjoying a glass of red.
INGREDIENTS: (yields 2 servings)
200g buckwheat soba noodles
- 1 large zucchini
- 10 cherry tomatoes halved (yellow or red)
- 3 large sun-dried tomatoes finely sliced
- ½ bunch of kale
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- crushed cashews and pine nuts to top
- sun-dried tomato oil to drizzle over
SPINACH BASIL PESTO INGREDIENTS:
- 2 cups fresh basil
- 2 cups organic spinach
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup raw walnuts
- 2 tbsp hemp seeds (optional if you don't have these)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp salt (to taste)
- fresh ground pepper (to taste)
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. De-stem kale, wash, dry, and tear into smaller pieces. Toss with olive oil and sea salt. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly distribute kale on sheet in a single layer. Bake kale for 10-15 minutes, watching carefully and rotating pan once. Once crisp, set aside to cool.
- Bring water to a boil and drop buckwheat soba noodles in. Reduce water to a simmer and cook noodles for 7 minutes or till al dante.
- While noodles are cooking, prep vegetables. Wash and half cherry tomatoes and slice sun-dried tomatoes. Set aside. Wash and spiralize zucchini using the blade closest to the soba noodle width (about spaghetti size).
- Drain and place soba noodles in a bowl of ice cold water to rinse off remaining starch and to quickly cool. Ring water from noodles by hand squeezing. Set aside in fridge to dry and chill.
- Once kale chips have cooled and soba noodles are dry and chilled, toss both zucchini and soba noodles in Spinach Basil Pesto. Click here for the pesto recipe.
- Plate and top noodles with tomatoes, nuts, kale chips and season with a drizzle of sun-dried tomato oil.