In addition to finding the best types of noodles, we had to test a number of different cooking techniques to find the best way to prepare them. Zucchini noodles tasted great raw in some applications, but most recipes worked best with cooked noodles. Boiling the noodles in salted water didn’t work, since the water later leached out of the noodles and into the sauce. We also tried sautéing, but fitting a full batch of noodles in a skillet was challenging, and even with constant stirring, the noodles cooked unevenly. We liked roasting best: It was easy to spread all of the noodles out on a baking sheet, and the noodles softened evenly while maintaining some texture and chew. Roasting also eliminated excess moisture, preventing the finished dishes from becoming watery.
When roasting tender vegetable noodles like summer squash and zucchini, we roast them uncovered for the entire cooking time. This allows moisture to evaporate and results in tender, flexible noodles. We find that draining the noodles after cooking helps to further ensure that we don’t end up with unwanted moisture in the finished dish.
When roasting firmer vegetable noodles, like butternut squash, beets, celery root, or sweet potatoes, we recommend cooking them covered with foil for part of the cooking time so that they will steam slightly and become tender. Removing the foil partway through allows the surface moisture to evaporate. Don’t drain these noodles; because they contain less moisture to begin with, they are less pliable once cooked, and transferring them to and from a colander results in unnecessary breakage.