A long time ago, I went to a fish restaurant in Christchurch, near Bournemouth, with my husband. They served a starter of grilled vegetables with fresh basil. And it was amazing. Ever since then, I've been hooked by the flavour of courgettes and basil.
And then, more recently, I had a think about the autoimmune protocol - the diet designed to ease symptoms of autoimmune disease - which eliminates (among lots of other things) tomatoes. And I thought 'Crikey - what happens here when you get a craving for Spaghetti Bolognese?'
And so I developed this recipe so you can still satisfy those Spag Bol cravings. It took me a while to get it right. There's bacon - that's for saltiness, so you don't miss the Parmesan cheese on top. I've used lamb mince instead of the usual beef - lamb has a sweeter, richer flavour - this was designed to balance the fact that the sauce doesn't have tomatoes or sugar in it. And I've used courgette 'noodles' (just courgettes peeled into slices with a vegetable peeler) instead of the pasta. And, obviously, lots of fresh basil. It's light, gluten-free, dairy-free and, to be honest, knocks the socks off my usual Spaghetti Bolognese.
Autoimmune Courgette Bolognese
250g bacon lardons
400g lamb mince
half a batch of my no-mato sauce
small handful fresh basil leaves
4 courgettes; washed, trimmed and peeled into thin slices using a vegetable peeler
First, fry the bacon lardons in a dry frying pan until golden - you won't need to add any extra fat as it will render down from the bacon pieces. Once the bacon has started to turn golden, add the lamb mince and stir-fry until browned all over. Drain off any excess fat.
Next, add the no-mato sauce. Simmer for another 10 minutes or so, until everything is heated through. The courgette slices will just take a few minutes to cook. If your pan is big enough, you can just lay the slices on top of the sauce and they will heat through - otherwise you can stir-fry them in a separate pan until tender.
Season the sauce, if you think it needs it (the bacon will already have made it a little salty) and serve with courgettes. Sprinkle liberally with the basil and eat while hot.