Recipe: Courgetti with Pesto Chicken, Mushrooms and Goat’s Cheese

Don’t hate me for owning a spiralizer, I’ve not completely lost my mind and travelled over to the dark side of the clean eating brigade. I just don’t like to be left out of any trend so obviously had to purchase this weird little device that makes noodles out of vegetables. I’ve had it since last year and have only used it a few times, but I can honestly say that I do rather like courgetti, or in other words courgette that’s been made to look like spaghetti pasta. If you don’t have a spiralizer fear not for you can now buy courgetti in large supermarkets, such is now the trend. Alternatively, you can use a vegetable peeler to create ribbons from your courgette, which is just as lovely. Whatever magic you create with your courgette, this recipe is a delicious way to increase your veg intake with lovely summery flavours.

Serves 2

What you need:

  • 3 courgettes
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp green pesto
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 slices of soft goat’s cheese
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts, toasted

What you do:

  1. Start by fashioning your courgettes into ribbons or noodles using whatever tools you have. I have the handheld type of spiralizer that leads to an injury every single time I use it, but makes nice long strands of courgetti. Leave these to one side but have a pan of boiling water ready.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan and once hot, add the diced chicken and mushrooms. Fry off for a few minutes until they are cooked through and starting to brown, then add in the pesto and zest and juice from the lemon. Stir and cook gently to create a nice sauce for the chicken and mushrooms.
  3. Just before the chicken and mushrooms are ready, plonk your courgetti into the pan of boiling water and cook just for a minute or two to warm through. Drain very well and place in to two waiting serving bowls. Top with the pesto coated chicken and mushrooms then immediately add a slice of goats cheese and a scattering of toasted pine nuts over the top. Drizzle any pesto juices from the pan artistically around the plate to make it look a bit spesh.

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The goat’s cheese will melt into the chicken and mushrooms and provide a welcome tang against the earthiness of the herby pesto. The crunch from the pine nuts works great with the soft courgette. This is a lovely, well balanced dinner perfect for a warm summer evening.

Injury count: 1 – I got my thumb caught in the spiralizer which led to screaming, crying and a bloody mess in the kitchen. But I got lots of attention afterwards which always makes an injury worth it.

Recipe: Roasted Vegetable Cous Cous

I don’t know about you but I always have a cupboard full of grains. Rice, quinoa, pasta, cous cous, you name it, I have at least three half used packs of it where I forget I have a bag open before using a new one. I’m a bit of a sucker for offers too and despite having a plentiful supply of the raw stuff, I always find myself well stocked with packets of microwavable rice and the pouches of cous cous that just need re-activating in some boiling water. The good thing about these is that they have flavourings already added so it saves you a bit of a job. If, like me, you have some packets of cous cous knocking about, try this easy peasy dish that you can have either as lunch on its own or alongside some grilled chicken or lamb for a tasty dinner.

Serves 2

What you need:

  • A 100g packet of flavoured cous cous. I used Ainsley Harriet’s sun-dried tomato and garlic for this particular picture, but use any brand or flavour you like. Or, don’t be a dumbass that buys packets of stuff like I do and just use plain old cous cous which is a lot cheaper and add some extra seasonings to suit your taste
  • 1 courgette
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 2 roasted peppers from a jar
  • 2 spring onions, chopped

What you do:

  1. Get your oven ready at 180°c. Halve your courgette lengthways then cut each half in half again so that you have four lengths of courgette. Slice them up about half a cm thick and then toss them in a roasting dish with the garlic powder, chilli, some salt and pepper and the olive oil. Roast the courgettes for about 25 minutes, tossing halfway through.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the couscous according to the instructions on the packet and chop the two peppers into pieces about the same size as the courgette.
  3. When your courgette is nicely roasted, add the diced peppers into the same roasting tray and give it all a good mix to combine the flavours. Now, mix this into the cous cous and stir with a fork to keep the grains separate. Top with your chopped spring onions and serve, either hot, room temperature or cold. Great for a picnic or buffet spread too.

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