Zucchini Cacio e Pepe | Wine Enthusiast
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Zucchini Cacio e Pepe

Courtesy Scott Winegard, culinary director, Plant Food + Wine, Venice, California


½ cup black olives
1 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
4 medium-sized zucchini
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt, divided
¼ cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
½ cup pitted green olives
½ cup green olive brine (from jar)
1 cup flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, loosely packed
2 cups large handfuls arugula
1 cup sunflower sprouts, for garnish
Nasturtium leaves and flowers, for garnish


Dehydrate black olives at 155˚F for 12 hours. Mince and set aside. (You can substitute with ¼ cup minced black olives.)

In bowl, submerge sunflower seeds in water. Cover, and let soak 8 hours. Drain and set aside.

Julienne zucchini lengthwise (preferably using mandoline) to make spaghetti-sized “noodles.” Place in bowl and toss with olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside 20–30 minutes.

In blender, purée sunflower seeds, lemon juice, yeast, peppercorns and 1 teaspoon salt with ¾ cup water until smooth and creamy. Set aside. Purée green olives, brine and parsley in blender or food processor. Set aside.

To assemble, drain zucchini and place in large mixing bowl. Add arugula and 1 cup black pepper cream, then toss gently (don’t break zucchini). Splash green olive purée on each plate. Place zucchini noodles on top. Sprinkle black olives on top of noodles. Garnish with sunflower sprouts, nasturtium leaves and flowers. Serves 2–4.

Pair It

Kettmeir 2013 Müller-Thurgau (Alto Adige)

Plant Food + Wine’s Wine Director Joey Repice suggests pairing this white with the zucchini because “the bold, earthy flavors of this raw dish are wonderfully highlighted by this crisp and light—but intensely aromatic—wine.”

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