Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Leith's Spaghetti with Courgettes and Chilli

I had a couple of moments of madness recently.  The first was agreeing to the husband's request to extend our summer holiday to two weeks.  The second was signing up for the Olympic Food Challenge.  Tonight, I'll talk about the holiday problem.  I'll talk more about the OFC later this week (in the meantime, check out my OFC page and the official OFC website)

We'd booked a week in North Berwick.  Hubs is a keen wildlife photographer and we regularly visit north-east England and south-east Scotland this time of year to see the see the sea-bird breeding spectacles.  This year's cottage overlooks Bass Rock which is one of the Seven Great Nature Wonders of the World  He's very excited about that.  Pre-child we also used to spend a separate week in the Highlands to see the ospreys that nest around the Cairngorms.  Never ever two consecutive weeks.  I worry that we'll end up getting divorced after so much time in close proximity.  Even our honeymoon was only ten days long.

Not only do we have to spend so much time in each other's company, but we also have to contend with the demands of the 366 Recipe Challenge.  It's challenging enough doing this in my own kitchen, let alone someone else's.  And the second week, the nearest supermarket is at least 20 miles away.  And my foraging credentials suck (see this post) so I need to be prepared.

I figured that I'd make a list of twenty simple recipes that could be easily prepared with the minimum of ingredients and fuss.  That would be all well and good, if I had a family that wasn't 'discerning' in what they eat.  Miss A has now fixated on fish fingers, meatballs, and malt loaf - in addition to her favoured diet of bread, Babybel cheese and fruit.  The husband still only eats chicken.  Or ham egg and chips.  This isn't going to be easy.

The non-veggie version...
So far, my list runs to James Martin's Chicken Club with Bacon Mayonnaise.  Yes, that's right.  I'm going to attempt homemade mayonnaise without a food processor.  I will also be packing my loaf tin so that I can maybe make a loaf or two (recipes still to be sourced) and maybe my sandwich tins so I can make a cake - it is holiday, after all.  So that leaves me with about fifteen more recipes to find.  Or they'll be eating fish finger sandwiches every day so I can try something new by myself.

During an idle attempt to come up with some easy recipes, I scoured my copy of Leith's Simple Food.  It's got some recipes that I could use.  If only the husband didn't mind spicy things or meals with 'grassy bits' in.  As I said.  He's 'discerning'.

In doing so, I happened across this little recipe which is a great store cupboard tea.  Although I keep my courgettes and creme fraiche in the fridge.  But you get my drift.

Being even more lazy than the book gives the reader credit for, I forewent the expense of buying a whole pack of chillies when I only needed one and used chilli oil instead.  As this meant that there wasn't red in the dish to contrast with the insipid whiteness of the pasta and the bright green of the courgettes, I then topped it with some crispy prosciutto (thanks for making the decision for me, Twitter!).  The recipe suggests Parmesan shavings as it's a veggie recipe, but the colour and flavour of the crispy ham worked just as well.

One other minor change is that they say to drain the pasta really well.  I found it hard to then stir the courgette mixture through the pasta as it was dry itself.  So I used a top tip I picked up from Jamie O.  Adding a little of the cooking water to the mix to ease the combination of veg and pasta.

All in all, another really easy tea that I love.  I pretty much love anything that comes with spaghetti and this summery dish will help me get my fix rather than a huge bloaty bowl of spag bol or meatballs.  On the cook again list.

Recipe - Serves 2 (adapted from Leith's Simple Cookery)

  • 200g dried spaghetti
  • 1 large courgette, grated
  • 1 tbsp chilli olive oil 
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp low fat creme fraiche
  • 1 slice of prosciutto fried or baked until crispy OR parmesan shavings

  1. Cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a low heat and fry the garlic for thirty seconds, taking care not to burn it (which I invariably do and then have to start again!)
  3. Add the courgette and cook for a few minutes.  Take care to keep it moving round the pan or it will stick and burn (and you'll have to start again - see step 2!)
  4. Add the creme fraiche and mix thoroughly.
  5. Reserve 2 tbsp of the pasta water then drain the spaghetti.  Return it to the saucepan and add the courgette mixture.  Add a little of the pasta water at a time to ease combining the two.
  6. Divide between two serving dishes and top with either the prosciutto or the Parmesan

1 comment:

  1. This recipe appeared in GoodFood magazine quite a few years ago - its one of my favourites! Its just as good without the creme fraiche (just courgette), with pesto, with bacon, with meatballs, with prawns (cooked in garlic and chilli) - although my favourite has been a tiny blob of mascapone with pesto. My general go-to meal is two courgette cooked (no oil or butter), pasta and green pesto - nothing else. Its going to be one of my staple dishes when I head off to university in September!


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