No-Sauce Spaghetti with Veggies, Bacon, Parmesan and Jalapeno

Right at the
start, I want to mention this isn't pasta with a luscious sauce full of cream and cheese that makes you want to lick the bowl.  I saw a recipe making no sauce pasta without all the fat and I was intrigued as I am trying to eat cleaner on a daily basis. I still intend to make more luxurious dishes for company and special occasions, but this recipe offered me one I could enjoy occasionally on a regular day without a lot of guilt.

Still interested?  Great.  I ran across a recipe similar to this and decided to make it my own.  There really isn't sauce on this dish, so it's drier and milder in flavor. They moisten it with lemon juice and some of the pasta cooking water, but that's it. I used my standard trick of half spaghetti noodles and half zucchini and carrot zoodles.  This time, however, I didn't just pour the cooked noodles and liquid over the zoodles to leave them crunchier, I sautéed them a bit. 

They recipe put in frozen corn and just heated through. I decided to take an idea from my recipe for Esquitos (Street Corn Salad) and roasted the corn in the pan with just a touch of olive oil until flecked with brown.  The original recipe had a bread crumb and parmesan topping. I didn't include any bread and instead incorporated the parmesan directly into the pasta itself. 

I only used half of a jalapeno as my husband only like a hint of spice, but I couldn't even tell it was there. I will be using a full jalapeno next time and if that's not enough, more in the future.  I only added 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese to keep calories down, but I couldn't taste it. I am upping that to 1/2 cup next time. Both these changes are included below. For company and special occasions I honestly still go all out with a rich sauce, but for regular meals I try to find a compromise. This is just one example. Baby steps.

Once again, I want to remind you this is a dryer pasta dish without a traditional sauce, so a different direction than what most of us are used to. However, it scratched my pasta itch and as a bonus, is full of healthy veggies. Enjoy!

Note: if you just have to have a sauce - cream or tomato - feel free. You still are cutting back on the carbs by reducing the spaghetti and the dish is full of great veggies. 

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No-Sauce Spaghetti with Veggies, Parmesan and Jalapeno
2-3 full meal servings depending on serving size

Ingredients - 

6 oz                Spaghetti noodles (I break into thirds before cooking)
3/4 C              Pasta cooking water reserved before draining
1 T                 Olive oil
1-1/2 C           Frozen corn
2 cloves          Garlic, minced or pressed
1                     Jalapeno finely diced (more if you want it spicier)
1                     Medium carrot spiralized
1                     Medium zucchini spiralized
1                     Lemon - zest and juice (do this ahead of time)
1/2 C              Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
4                     Green onions, sliced
1/2 C              Pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
6                     Strips cooked bacon (can do more or less to taste), crumbled
Salt and pepper

Instructions - 

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the spaghetti noodles and cook according to package directions, or until done the way you like them.  Remove 3/4 cup of pasta water and set aside. Drain the noodles in a colander. 

While the noodles are cooking, Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a frying pan and heat to medium.  Add the corn, garlic and jalapenos.  Sauted flipping regularly until the corn is roasted and has brown flecks. Add the spiralized carrot and zucchini and continue sautéing until they have softened slightly. Probably about 5 minutes, but that depends on the temp you are cooking at.  I took the edge of crunchy off, but didn't let them get fully soft. 

Add the drained noodles, the lemon juice, the lemon zest, the parmesan cheese and the green onions. Toss well until all ingredients are evenly incorporated. Pour in the pasta cooking water (start with just a 1/2 cup) and continue to cook until mostly incorporated but not dry. 

Pile the pasta and veggies onto 2-3 plates and sprinkle on the crumbled bacon and chopped pistachios. Serve.