Monday, 19 August 2013

Courgette, Chilli and Pine Nut Tagliatelle

We're on a bit of a weight loss mission at the moment, scary stuff. Soooo where my normal way of eating pasta is smothering it in cheese and sauce, I've been experimenting with some slightly less artery-fuzzing options. I did the courgettes in Fry-Light (that stuff makes me shudder slightly but it's a necessary evil) and by my maths it works out at under 500 calories per person.

The flavours in this are a bit of a swan-song to summer - it's almost autumn, in fact as I'm typing there's even a Christmas re-run of QI on in the background which is just making me feel all wrong. So may I present some  happy summertime type food before we all plunge back into dark and cold and misery.

Dead easy to veganise, just make sure your pasta is egg-free (most dried varieties are) and leave off the cheese.

Serves 2
What you need

2  medium-sized courgettes
200g tagliatelle (or whatever pasta you've got!)
1 medium-hot red chilli (finely chopped and seeds removed if you don't want too much heat)
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
a small handful of pine nuts (about 10-15g)
2 tbsps olive oil (or Fry-Light if, like us, you are a masochist)
juice of half a lemon (optional)
a few shavings vegetarian parmesan-style cheese
salt and pepper to taste

What to do

Courgettes first. Top and tail them then, with a potato peeler, thinly slice the two courgettes length-wise into ribbons.

Heat half of the olive oil (or depressing Fry-Light) in a ridged griddle pan. If you don't have a griddle pan, a normal non-stick frying pan will be absolutely fine but you won't get the dark ridge marks. When the pan is up to temperature lay out the courgette ribbons, turning when they are starting to brown. It won't take long because they're so thin! You'll probably need to do this in batches, unless you have a monstrous catering-size griddle pan, so pop them on a plate as they're done. It doesn't matter if they get cold, they'll warm back up when you eventually add them to the pasta.

In the mean time, heat a separate dry frying pan and add your pine nuts. Keep shaking the pan until they're evenly toasted all over, then put them on one side. At this point you should also start boiling a pan of water ready for the pasta.

In the same pan (no point creating extra washing up), add the rest of the olive oil, the garlic and the chilli. Keep a careful eye on it because you don't want it to brown, just to sweat slightly so you lose the harshness of the raw garlic. Put that on one side as well when done.

The pasta water will hopefully now be at a rolling boil, so add your tagliatelle and cook for however long the pack says, usually about 10 minutes. Drain it and put it back in the pan.

Toss the courgette ribbons, chilli, garlic and the lemon juice if using, as well as a decent amount of good-quality salt and pepper in with the tagliatelle - the heat from the pasta should warm the courgette etc. back up if it's gone a bit cold.

Plate up and sprinkle over the 'parmesan' shavings.

Now go and sit outside with a glass of chilled white wine and pretend we all live in Italy. Mmm.

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