It’s taken nearly two months for me to get my Lurch Spirali out of its box! A quick mid-week peek inside my refrigerator was the inspiration. Apart from organic courgettes, cherry tomatoes, a couple of bunches of asparagus that were begging to be eaten, half a raw cauliflower, eggs and several different cheeses, there wasn’t much else to speak of that could be converted into a substantial meal for three. Since we’d already succumbed to staving off our appetites with salted nuts and a large glass of wine, I knew I had to get something on the table sooner rather than later.
Besides which, I thought that at least making vegetable ‘spaghetti’ might distract us from our hunger pangs. And It did. Not that Courgetti with Cherry Tomatoes & Asparagus took very long to make. In fact, I think it was on the table in less than thirty minutes in spite of there being minimal instructions in or on the box and, according to my husband, not much more information on the internet!
Anyway, vegetable spaghetti, for the purposes of this recipe we call it courgetti, was fascinatingly simple and quick to make. We were all quite excited to see these long beautiful green pasta-type spirals falling effortlessly from this genius little gadget (kids, especially those who find vegetables unappealing, will just love it!). Plus, we think the result is even better to eat than conventional pasta - altogether tastier, healthier and lighter - which lets your choice of pasta sauce sing even more loudly!
My ‘sauce’ is an adaptation of a similarly entitled recipe in Rose Elliot’s book, Fast, Fresh and Fabulous. and, as well as befooling veggie-reluctant children (you might just change their minds by getting them involved in making the courgetti!), this low-carb, really healthy recipe is a slimmer’s delight - because who would not like to lose a little bit of excess weight in contemplation of baring all in the heat of summer? Or if that’s not your concern, when the sun starts to rise in the sky, you might just prefer spending more time outside rather than in the kitchen!
A cross between a pasta dish and a warm salad, this is so quick and easy to make it’s practically convenience food! I’ve used slender asparagus spears here because they need very little preparation. Just snap off the bottoms, wash and cook. They also cook so quickly. Happily this means you can leave the ‘sauce’ to make itself under the grill whilst you attend to the courgetti, which is cooked al dente in just 3 minutes flat!
The images of the raw ingredients I’ve used for Courgetti with Cherry Tomatoes & Asparagus are not just for show! This is how I get organised when making any meal or recipe. I collect all the ingredients together and prep them first, i.e. before I even start the cooking process.
This is a lovely, fresh way (looks so very Italian!) to eat young, thin spears of asparagus and get a healthy quotient of other fresh vegetables on your Primal Plate too. I’ve used soft goats cheese and some Gran Padano to add more depth of flavour and texture to the dish, but if you prefer, you could get your protein fix by substituting grilled meat, chicken or fish for the cheese.
Courgetti with Cherry Tomatoes & Asparagus (V) (Serves 2)
300g (10½oz) cherry tomatoes
250g (9oz) thin asparagus spears (about 12 thin spears per person, or if not available, 7 thicker ones see Notes below)
2 tbsp olive oil
Basil leaves, about 8 large ones, finely shredded
3 medium-large, firm, flat (not curved) chunky courgettes (size and shape matters!)
Freshly ground black pepper
100g (3½oz) full-fat soft goat’s cheese
25g (1oz) Parmesan (or Gran Padano, or Vegetarian parmesan-style cheese), finely grated
Boil a kettle of water. Set the grill to high.
Cut off both ends of the courgettes. Put the centre of the courgette into the centre of the Spirali vegetable support and holding the machine steady with one-hand, turn the crank clockwise with your other hand whilst pushing the vegetables tight up against the blades. - the courgettes are easily and quickly sliced twice into fabulous long julienne strips. What fun! Set aside whilst you prepare the ‘sauce’ ingredients.
Place the cherry tomatoes in a single layer on a grill pan. Put the washed and dried asparagus into a large bowl with half the olive oil and mix together with you hands until evenly coated. Put these on the grill pan too and season everything well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Put under the grill and cook for about 6-8 minutes or until the tomatoes are on the point of collapse and the asparagus just tender to the point of a knife, and perhaps tinged golden brown.
Once the tomatoes and asparagus are about half-way through their cooking time (after about 3-4 minutes) put the courgetti into the top half of a steamer and pour the boiling water from the kettle into the bottom half of the pan. Put the pan lid on and steam for 3 minutes. Keep your eye on the asparagus and tomatoes whilst the courgetti cooks.
Drain the courgetti well, then pour over the rest of the olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Divide the courgetti between two warm pasta dishes (large shallow bowls). Add the tomatoes and asparagus to the vegetable pasta and top with goats cheese, shredded basil and a sprinkling of Parmesan, if liked. Buon appetito!
Select the finest (3mm blade) out of the 3 cutters supplied with your machine - this makes thin ‘spaghetti’ spirals out of your vegetables that not only look fantastic, they only need a very short period of time to cook. Assemble your Spirali machine on a clean flat surface and place a large container underneath to catch the prepared courgetti as it falls from the machine.
If you want to, you can peel the courgettes first so it comes out white, like pasta.
If you can’t get thin whole asparagus, use asparagus tips. Alternatively, first cut the tips off thicker asparagus and then split the stems vertically in half.
For vegans, omit the cheese and try adding other finely chopped herbs to the basil - perhaps tarragon and chives. Serve the vegetable pasta with freshly chopped herbs and perhaps a good handful of toasted pine nuts scattered over.
You can make this dish completely fat-free by omitting the olive oil (although ‘low-fat’ isn’t a concern for people who follow a Primal or Paleo diet)
Carbohydrate 16g Protein 22g - per serving