Student Suppers: Tomato & Broccoli Courgetti Spaghetti
I think one of the biggest problems food writers face every day (or am I just speaking for myself here?) is that the need to plan what is going to be cooked when to get all the work done leaves very little room for creativity, and I really do think some of the best dishes come together when you simply open the fridge door and do your best to make a delicious meal from what you can find inside. This is sort of how this dish came about. Well, this way of cooking pasta, in any case.
It took me a very long time to get on board with courgetti. I’m naturally anti-kitchen gadget. The only ‘gadget’ things you’ll find in my kitchen is a fancy can opener because I simply can’t operate those old fashioned ones, and my air fryer, because I promise you getting one will revolutionise the way you eat French fries, oven chips, sweet potato fries and even curly fries at home. (Well, okay, I suppose you could also call my NutriNinja a gadget, but I have that not just for smoothies, but for sauces too as I *still* don’t own a proper food processor, and my slow cooker, but that came with my boyfriend, even though I’m the only person who has ever used it!)
Anyway, kitchen gadgets. It took me forever to get on board with courgetti because I thought getting a special gadget to make ‘pasta’ out of vegetables was just plain stupid. And will never be as delicious as real pasta. But then I read this thing about using the large hole on a box grater in a simple sweeping motion to make it instead (I think this tip came from my friend Izy’s first cookbook Top with Cinnamon?) and we had a glut of home grown courgettes at home, my Mum and I started to make courgetti as a veggie side, and I had to admit that simply dressed with a bit of sea salt, black pepper and extra virgin olive oil it was rather delicious.
So, BBC Food asked me to put together a student-friendly courgetti recipe, and I started rooting around for pasta recipes I’d not published yet that would make a flavour forward vegetable dish, rather than a sad pasta substitute. I soon alighted on one of those ‘what’s in the fridge’ meals I made when I was reviewing one of Abel & Cole’s veg boxes: charred tomatoes, tenderstem broccoli and a generous amount of parmesan tossed with the noodles. I’d already served it over brown rice, smothered in romesco instead of the cheese as an easy, delicious vegan weeknight dinner. It turns out it is bloody good with courgetti, too.