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Help with parsnip "noodles"

Irv's picture

I made way too much ground-turkey-and-tomato pasta sauce the other day, and, after having pasta one too many nights recently, I decided to try the sauce on something else. I tried to get creative by making pseudo-noodles out of a parsnip. I used a peeler to shave off long slivers from the parsnip. I steamed the parsnip "noodles" briefly, dried them quickly in my much-appreciated mini-salad spinner, and tossed them with the warm sauce and some grated romano. Not bad for a first attempt, but I was disappointed at the blandness of the parsnip "noodles".

I like the simplicity, speed, and low-calories of the steamed parsnip "noodles" idea, but it is clearly weak in the flavor department. One possibility would be to broil the noodles briefly, instead of steaming them, though I suppose I'll need to toss the noodles in oil first; besides, cranking up the broiler for a plate of noodles seems like overkill. Another possibility would be to dip them briefly in a simmering flavorful stock, instead of steaming them, but I wonder if the brief time required to make the noodles tender would not be long enough to flavor them. A third alternative would be to marinate the noodles, but here I draw a blank. I have no experience with marinating parsnips, and I haven't come up with a marinade that would go well with a typical pasta sauce.

Any ideas?



Gretchen's picture

(post #28424, reply #1 of 4)

Maybe parsnips just aren't suitable for this "noodle" application. Maybe carrots, zucchini, spagetti squash.


Edited 11/15/2003 12:21:50 PM ET by GRETCHEN50

Jean's picture

(post #28424, reply #2 of 4)

Parsnips and carrots -- too sweet. Zucchini -- too watery.

Go with the spaghetti squash!

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MEANCHEF's picture

(post #28424, reply #3 of 4)

Parsnips are great roasted.  You may want to explore. 

Wondercat's picture

Parsnips peeled and put through a mandoline -- (post #28424, reply #4 of 4)

-- very, very thin -- and then the thin, thin shavings brought to a boil, allowed to cool, and reheated... those have the texture and flavour of udon rolled very, very flat.  I made some parsnip noodles yesterday for a chicken velouté with a bit of lemon juice and the peeled, thinly cut stems from a handful of asparagus (peel the bases, snap stalks as usual, slice the pared bits no more than 0.3 cm thick).  The noodles garnered compliments.

Irv, I agree with you:  Butter, salt and pepper; aglio - olio; even a girolles or ceps ragu:  Parsnip noodles can't carry those off.  So don't ask them to do so.  They can't step into leading-lady roles.  Contract players, that's all they are.  

Put your effort into the stock or the dashi, use parsnip noodles to bulk out the soup whilst contributing a faintly sweet and nutty flavour, and you'll be happy with the results.