Nowt like Courgetti Spaghetti

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.

In my kitchen cupboard I have one of the ugliest pieces of equipment imaginable. Its size and bulk seem disproportionate to the the job it does, yet it spiralises like a dream and so it is forgiven, used regularly and stashed back in the cupboard quickly. Here it is in all its glory.
Of course there are more compact spiralizers on the market. They do tend to be temperamental and have a knack to them which you may or not acquire. Alternatively, you may have a food processor with discs for grating and spiralising that you could use, a Julienne vegetable peeler or a box grater backwards and forwards to achieve longish lengths.
Watch those knuckles – you have been warned!
You’d be surprised what a difference the length and shape of the spiral or grate does to the flavour and texture of the dish. A grater tends to produce short, stubby lengths that are watery and do not hold a sauce well (shown here, top left). The Julienne peeler produces long thin strips (top right) and these are an option. But only the spiralizer gives you the full twisty-turny angel hair which is the most like spaghetti (front, centre) and perfect for Courgetti Spaghetti.
Now you know, let’s go ….

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.

Begin by spiralising 2 large or 3 medium courgettes.
Dice 5-6 medium tomatoes.
Crush and slice, or finely dice, 3 cloves of garlic.
Sauté the garlic, tomatoes and 50g torn basil in 2 x 15ml (table)spoons olive or coconut oil for 5 mins until the juices from each are melding. Add in any additional ingredients at this point.
Add the spiralised courgette to the pan, stir and sauté for 3 minutes – certainly no longer, otherwise the courgette goes to mush and does not have the bite and texture of linguini or spaghetti.
Season with salt and a generosity of black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Makes two generous portions and can be served with salad and/or steamed broccoli. Top with a little grated cheese if liked.

If you feel like spiralising is for you go ahead and Let’s Twist Again