Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bolognese with Courgette Spaghetti

I love bolognese, but I always find that with the mince it can be very high in propoints, and by the time you add in a portion of pasta it can be a very high propointed dinner. I have remedied this in the past by using quorn mince which is a great low propoint alternative, but it really is not the same as actual mince. I mean it can easily be included in your daily allowance but I am always looking for ways to make my propoints go further.

I had heard of courgette spaghetti before but have been a little skeptical but I have been trying to have a low carb week and I wanted some bolognese so I thought what would be the harm in giving it a go. To my surprise it was great. Of course it wasn't the same carby deliciousness that pasta is but it added a lot of bulk to my meal and there was a nice bite to it that went with the sauce quite nicely.

To make this its super easy. All you need is a vegetable peeler and a courgette. If you use about one courgette per person and cut strips using the vegetable peeler. You can then cut these into spaghetti or you can leave them in wide tagliatelle type strips. I moved the peeler around the courgette and ended up with varying widths. When I got to the centre with all the seeds I tended to leave that part out, it didn't feel like the right texture. When this is done you want to put it in salted boiling water for one minute - be sure to time this - and then drain it and transfer it straight to ice cold water to ensure it doesn't over cook. After this you need to drain it really well and its worth drying further with a little bit of kitchen paper to make sure its not too wet. That's it - so easy. Make sure the sauce you serve is hot enough to heat the courgette, but other than that its good to go.

For my bolognese I like to use a lot of vegetables to make really decent sized portions.  If you chop them up using a food processor they melt into the sauce and help to thicken it and add some extra flavour without you getting big chunks of vegetable. This is a great tip for those who have kids (or fussy adults) who don't like veg!! This recipe with make 4 huge servings for 8propoints each, or 6 decent sized servings for 5 propoints each. (You can split the difference and serve 5 for 6propoints each) Anyway recipe is as follows:

500g extra lean mince (less than 5% fat)
5 small carrots
5 celery sticks
1 large onion
4 cloves are garlic
150g mushrooms sliced
300ml beef stock (made with one cube)
125ml red wine
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp cornflour
1tbsp cold water
salt and black pepper
1tsp sweetener

Brown the mince over a very high heat in a non stick frying pan. Make sure you don't end up stewing the mince so this may need to be done in batches. Remove from the heat and leave to one side.

Chop up the carrots, celery, onion and garlic using a food processer. It should look like this:

Fry this over a medium heat in some low calorie cooking spray for 2-3 minutes, then turn down the heat, cover and cook for 4 5 minutes. Add in the mushrooms and the mince and stir well.

Mix in the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, wine and beef stock and stir well. Add the oregano, sweetener and season well with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, cover loosely and reduce to a simmer.

Leave simmer like this for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and simmer for a further 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Mix the cornflour with the water and add to the sauce. Cook for a further 2 minutes stirring constantly.

Adjust the seasoning to taste and enjoy! Serve this with your courgette spagetti, real spaghetti or even a baked potato. Sprinkle over 5g of grated parmesan for an additional propoint.

I really need to get better at taking photos of my food - clearly this is not where my talent lies!!

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