Courgettes or as the Americans would say Zucchini are one of those vegetables I’m often guilty of neglecting in the bottom of the fridge., passed over for the more exciting members of my shopping basket. However they are extremely versatile and can be really delicious especially if well grown and cared for.
When my brother and I were little we had a vegetable patch in our back garden we grew carrots, potatoes, sweet corn and courgettes, however we allowed the courgettes to grow to marrows, to see how big we could grow them. We have a photo of my little brother proudly holding his giant marrow ironically my brother hated (and still does hate) most vegetables including marrows.
When you go on holiday to France in the summer (particularly if your aunty has a vegetable garden) you eat a lot of courgettes, they are in everything! The same little brother who hates vegetables was convinced to eat “green chicken soup” on holiday one year and hasn’t lived it down since.
Courgettes can be lovely vegetables, in my opinion marrows cannot, they go fleshy and seedy and generally unpleasant. So eat them small and save the big ones for holding up proudly in photographs.
On the note of noodling vegetables: I do not own a spiralizer, while not too expensive they are really bulky and if you haven’t already got the impression our kitchen is tiny! A serrated grater does the job just as well and it so much more compact! Mine is doubles ended, a normal peeler and a serrated – perfect!
Courgette Pasta with Kale Pesto
- 3 Courgettes
- Whole-wheat spaghetti
- 2 tsp of salt
- 4 large kale leaves
- 1 tbsp of walnuts
- 1 tbsp of pistachios
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/3 cup of rapeseed or olive oil
- Juice of 1 and a half lemons
- 50g grated Parmesan
- 18 basil leaves
Using a serrated grater peel the courgette into thin strips, add to a large bowl with the salt and leave for 15 mins. Cook your pasta according to the instructions.
Add all the pesto ingredients along with 4tbsp of water to a blender and blend until smooth (add a little more water if necessary) until it reaches a smooth velvety consistency.
After 15 mins your courgette noodles will have reduced in volume by about 1/3 thoroughly rinse your courgettes under cold running water then squeeze as much liquid as you can from them.
In a large pan add the courgette strips and cooked pasta along with the pesto and warm through, the noodles will be cooked when the pesto is heated through.
Top with grated parmesan, ad other nice bits (I added oven-dried tomatoes, some nuts and crunchy roasted kale, Joel suggests, as with most recipes the addition of bacon).
Eating in our house is often a compromise, I would eat light carb free food in summer happily but no matter how much salad Joel seems to eat, without carbs he is never full. The above recipe is the compromise that works in our house, roughly half courgette, half pasta, you could change the ratio to use more or all courgette or bulk up the pasta side, whatever works for you.
Other Suggestions for Courgettes
- The classic ratatouille.
- Peel (with a normal peeler) into ribbons for salads.
- Lasagne – replace the lasagna sheets with courgette ribbons .
- Chutneys – I am currently working my way through a jar of my WIs courgette and tomato chutney – delicious!
- Bake – courgette cakes work rather like carrot cakes, my beetroot loaf works well with grated courgette instead of/as well as beetroot.
- In omelettes
- In “greens” – I like adding courgettes into my leafy green sides to add more texture.
- Green “chicken” soup