There is nothing (or nowt as we say where I come from) wrong with pasta. However, on the occasions where you feel like something lighter, want to avoid overdoing the carbs, or you have a glut of courgettes because it seemed like a good idea to try growing them … then spiralised courgettes might be your answer to take the place of linguini or spaghetti. You don’t even need a spiralizer.
Courgettes are a delight to grow because, with not much more than a good compost and plenty of watering, they reward you with a sudden growth spurt and burst into vivid yellow flowers. These too are edible – the icing on the cake or the garnish on the salad. Dip them in a light batter and fry until crisp. I like them stuffed with herby mashed goats’ cheese. They are a real delicacy.
Zucchini or courgettes are smaller, thinner skinned members of the marrow family. They may not have a great deal of flavour in themselves, but take on the flavour of other ingredients very successfully. Being high in water content with virtually no fat and very little carbohydrate, they are not very calorific. They contain useful amounts of dietary fibre, Vitamins A and C, as well as potassium which counteracts the effects of sodium in the diet and so play a role in controlling blood pressure.
Courgettes can be sliced into discs or rounds in a salad or with a peeler as ribbons and lightly pickled in vinegar water, diced for a salsa, made into batons for dips and cut into strips and brushed with oil for char-grilling. They excel in a chunky Ratatouille and add moisture and sweetness to a cake.
And then there is the oh so “on trend” of spiralising. Simply spiralising a couple of courgettes and lavishing in olive oil, lemon juice, salt crystals, finely chopped garlic and a few chilli flakes makes a great salad or topping for bruschetta.
Courgetti Spaghetti is a really quick meal requiring only a couple of courgettes, some fresh tomatoes and herbs, garlic and olive oil. Admit it, you already feel as if you are looking out on a Mediterranean sunset. Never a bad feeling.
You can keep the dish really simple or go for slightly simple with a dash of complexity thrown in, i.e. the addition of a couple more ingredients: salad onions, sweetcorn, peas, spinach, red and yellow peppers, chickpeas or gigantes all lend themselves well.