Counting the Calories Italian Style – Courgetti with Oil and Garlic for the 5:2 Diet:
It is that time of the year when there always seems to be a glut of courgettes. And, the good news for anyone doing the 5:2 diet or following any other low calorie diet is that courgettes are naturally very low calorie. Even better, if you spiralise them to make courgetti, they make a pretty good substitute for spaghetti. By cutting out the calories in the pasta, you can afford to indulge in ingredients that are much higher in calories that you’d normally be able to use as part of a diet. In my case, good quality olive oil, garlic and Grana Padano cheese to make the Italian classic Spaghetti aglio et olio. Of course, you can make the full calorie version if you like, but once you’ve tasted this beautiful, fresh dish I doubt you’ll ever want to. Nono will be turning in her grave! I guess if we are trying to be authentic it could be called zucchini aglio et olio. But perhaps that’s just pushing it a bit too far!
Actually if you are dieting and craving cheese, those hard Italian cheeses like Grana Padano and Parmesan are not a bad thing to use. At 384 calories per 100g for Grana Padano, you’d think it wouldn’t be a good idea. But, it’s a strong cheese and you really won’t need much – about 10-15 grams grated and used to top the dish. It’s also something that will add a little protein to the dish so will help to stop you feeling hungry again too quickly. Similarly, olive oil might seem like an indulgence. A teaspoon to soften your garlic and chilli will add 40 calories of luxurious taste to the dish that you really shouldn’t try to cut out.
This is such an achingly simple dish to make I do hope you’ll try for yourself. It is a great lunch dish and would also work well as a vegetable accompaniment to grilled meat or fish.