“Courgetti with Pistachio, Green Herbs and Ricotta” from “A Modern Way to Cook”

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I know! It looks JUST LIKE spaghetti but it’s actually courgettes! It’s like magic!

Look at that! I’ve jumped on the culinary bandwagon and made courgetti. My 2015 is complete.

For those of you not paying attention or living under a rock, courgetti– spaghetti made out of courgettes– is all the rage these days. Several of the cookbooks we’ve featured in the past year, including the Hemsley sisters and Ella Woodward, have sung the praises of courgetti. I was skeptical, to say the least.

One of the main reasons I resisted is because the easiest way to make of courgetti is to buy spiralizer, a special kitchen gadget.  Believe me, I’m not one to shy away from new kitchen gadgets. I love them. In fact, at the moment, I’m trying to figure out a way to justify buying this amazing and beautiful walnut and maple ravioli rolling pin. (Suggestions welcome in the comments). But I just didn’t think a spiralizer would be worth the investment, given that they cost about £25,  would take up a good deal of room in my kitchen cabinets, and I wasn’t sure how often I would use it.

But then I read Anna Jones’s opening suggestion, where she told me you could buy a hand-held julienne peeler, which is much cheaper (£3.55 at Lakeland) and takes up much less space. When I found it at Lakeland,  I was so pleased about it I actually texted Anna and Kirstin from the store to tell them I had found a solution to my lack-of-spiralizer problem. It turns out that Kirstin did exactly the same thing.

Not surprisingly, making spaghetti out of courgettes did take some time, but I think it was time well spent, given how healthy courgetti is, especially when compared to the usual spaghetti.

This is a very long-winded way of saying that it was delicious, at least this version was. The boys agreed, saying that it was much better than they thought it would be (high praise, given their low expectations). The proof of everyone’s enjoyment could be found in the empty serving bowl at the end of dinner.

Would I make it again? I would indeed. Highly recommended.

If you’d like to make this yourself, click through this paragraph to find the recipe in Sainsbury’s Magazine.

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“Courgetti with Pistachio, Green Herbs and Ricotta” from “A Modern Way to Cook”

“Beef Ragu and Courgetti” from “The Art of Eating Well”

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Anna: I’m making normal pasta for the kids. Would you like spaghetti or do you want to try the courgette spaghetti?

Peter: In for a penny and all that.

Anna Do you like this sauce Louis? It’s like sausage sauce. But a bit different.

Louis: I like it. Please can I have some more?

Peter: Isabella likes it too!

Anna: That’s good, because it’s got lots of grated carrots in it.

Peter: So how is it different from your normal bolognese?

Anna: It’s not really. Beef mince, onions, wine, tomatoes, cook for hours, add grated carrots… Normally the carrots are added at the beginning as a sofrito, so I guess that’s the only difference. It makes it a little more healthy, not that you can tell. I would definitely make this again. It was certainly very easy.

Peter: You can tell this isn’t spaghetti.

Anna: Yes, you can. I’m confused by this courgette spaghetti. They say to warm it up in butter but I wonder whether I should have blanched it in boiling water for a minute, just to soften it. Though that might have made it mushy and horrible. I need to give it another go. So far, unconvinced.

 

“Beef Ragu and Courgetti” from “The Art of Eating Well”

“Chicken Paillard with Spring Onions and Prosciutto” from “Easy”

Peter: This is very filling.

Anna: To be honest, I took some liberties with the quantities because I didn’t want half a packet of prosciutto kicking around the fridge.

Peter: I don’t know what to make of this, it seems to be unstructured. I’m not sure which bit to eat first.

Anna: It’s not the sort of dish I would normally cook really. It’s French. Paillard means escalope. Bashing out chicken and making creamy sauces isn’t in my usual repertoire. That’s why I thought I’d give it a go. But honestly, it was just a little too much effort for me. Too many little annoying things to have to do to get it on the plate.

Peter: So was it ‘unEasy’?

Anna: No. It wouldn’t be fair to say it was difficult. Just a little bit bitty for me. Which is why I don’t normally make things like this. But to be fair, I did it in stages because you’ve been out racing tonight. It was yummy, but I don’t think I’ll be making it again.

 

“Chicken Paillard with Spring Onions and Prosciutto” from “Easy”

“Spinach, Leek and Courgette Frittata” from “Food”

Anna: This is a man-sized frittata. Proper portions, that’s what we like in the this household.

Peter: Definitely a proper lunch this.

Anna: That will be the 5 eggs and loads of veg. And lots of feta too! Yum yum. As Maureen would agree, anything with feta is delicious.

Peter: And you’re telling me that it’s healthy too, because of the vegetables?

Anna: Yes, the veg cancels out all the fat from the eggs and cheese. Win win!

Peter: Let’s have this again please.

Anna: You’re on.

 

 

“Spinach, Leek and Courgette Frittata” from “Food”

“Courgette and Lemon Spaghetti” from “Food”

If you’d like to make this yourself– and I recommend that you do– there’s a recipe from the Telegraph if you click on this link.

This one is a resounding winner. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s healthy. Win. Win. Win.

However, I need to add a caveat: I did alter the recipe a bit. Usually, I don’t do that, because obviously the idea of testing recipes in our cookbooks is to do them exactly as they say. It’s the only way you’re going to be able to see if they work or not.

But in this case, I didn’t think that Mary McCartney would mind. As she says in the introduction, she came up with this recipe when she was hunting through her cupboard for something to eat. The reason I altered it was by the time I had settled on making it for dinner, our excellent greengrocer The Creaky Shed was already shut for the day, so I couldn’t get my hands on the fresh sage and the rosemary that it called for. So instead I used fresh parsley and dried rosemary. It worked fine.

The other thing I altered about the recipe was the type of pasta I used. I know it says spaghetti, and why in the world would I need to deviate from that? But the fact is that Tim, my husband, hates spaghetti (he’s odd like that), so he politely requested that we get some other shape. So we did. Again, I don’t think Mary would mind.

One good thing about this recipe is that it truly is one that vegans can use, because the feta that you add is optional. Hooray for that. Given my profound love of cheese, obviously I’ll never be a vegan, but for my vegan friends out there, this one is for you.

Would I make this again? Absolutely. I may even put this in our regular rotation. It’s a great weeknight meal– delicious, healthy, quick and easy. I consider those three things the holy grail of a successful weeknight dinner.

“Courgette and Lemon Spaghetti” from “Food”

“Pappardelle with Courgettes, Sultanas and Pine nuts” from “Forever Summer”

Anna: I’m sneaking this one in whilst Kirstin is still away involving, as it does, a dried fruit.  In a savoury dish.  Which we know is vorboten in her culinary world.  But I do love this flavour combination myself and this pasta dish really reminded me of the Veneziana pizza from Pizza Express I loved when I was a teenager.

Peter: I’m getting sweet, and nutty, and salty…

Anna: All good things.  This is definitely a great way to use courgettes at this time of year and a lovely vegetarian dinner for a meat-free night, that doesn’t make carnivores feel deprived.  Peter didn’t even make a comment about it being veggie.

Peter: I didn’t.  Hang on, I can feel myself passing-out….

Anna: I did come a bit undone by not reading the recipe properly beforehand as the courgettes have to fry for a good half hour – 45 mins.  But that aside it’s as simple as anything.  One gripe, Nigella has got her pasta quantities off in this recipe.  She’s not shy of a big portion, by her own admission, but I’d say you need twice as much as she advises here. 

Peter: Luckily you hadn’t tipped the water out yet so I could nip back and cook more.  My bowl was looking a little empty.

Anna: Otherwise this was very yummy. We’ll be doing this again, without Kirstin obviously.

“Pappardelle with Courgettes, Sultanas and Pine nuts” from “Forever Summer”