Chef Jenny Ross Converts a Raw Food Skeptic – Oh-So Luscious Zucchini

Chefs, Cooking, Recipes, Restaurants, Uncategorized, Videos By Aug 01, 2012

A pasta-free, feels-like-pasta dish using raw zucchini.

Jenny Ross is the chef-owner of 118 Degrees in Costa Mesa, a raw foods restaurant that showcases a cuisine that is entirely plant-based.

She utilizes fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouted grains, that when heated are taken to no more than 118 degrees. The goal is to preserve valuable nutrients.

Watch this short video, to see how easily this delicious, healthful dish comes together.

Ross grew up in Yorba Linda and had a successful career as a fashion model before opening raw food restaurants. She says that she was having digestive problems, and found that a raw food diet was the solution. Increased energy and a feeling a well being, she says, were benefits as well.

She opened the 32-seat 118 Degrees restaurant more than 4 years ago in The Camp. A wide variety of dishes, everything from coconut ceviche to lasagna to tostadas, fill the menu. But it’s a zucchini pasta dish that she most often makes in her home kitchen in Irvine. Instead of pasta, she uses linguine-like strips of zucchini. She tosses them with a perky basil-pistachio pesto and spikes that concoction with plenty of fresh lemon juice.

It’s a favorite of her two-year old daughter, Dylan. She tweaks the recipe ever so slightly for Dylan, omitting tomatoes and adding diced avocado.

118 Degrees Lemon Pesto Pasta
Yield: 4 entrees
Pesto Sauce:
2 cups fresh basil
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 medium-sized garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup shelled pistachios, walnuts, or pine nuts
4 medium zucchini, ends trimmed
1 lemon
1 Roma tomato, diced
1. In a high-powered blender (such as a Vitamix) combine basil, oil, garlic and salt. Blend (starting on low power and increasing speed slowly to high); blend on high speed until smooth and blended. Add nuts and blend on high until well combined and smooth. Pesto can be refrigerated, well sealed, up to 14 days.
2. Cut zucchini into julienne strips (long slender strips); the easiest way to do this is to use a mandolin fitted with the julienne blade. If cutting by hand use a sharp knife to cut zucchini lengthwise into long strips, 1/8-inch-by-1/8-inch.
3. In a medium-size bowl, vigorously toss zucchini with 1 cup Pesto Sauce until well coated. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze juice into pasta. Toss, then taste, adding more juice as desired. Add tomato and toss.

Videographer Curt Norris and I were so impressed with how good this dish was.

And when each of us made the pesto after the shoot, we found that it stayed deliciously emulsified when stored in our fridges for more than ten days. But for these kinda results, a heavy-duty blender, such as a Vitamix, is essential.

118 degrees restaurant
2981 Bristol Suite B5 Costa Mesa, CA 92626


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