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Courgetti with Baked Ricotta and Pistachio and Green Herb Pesto

Serves 2-3 as main meal 
Takes 25 minutes 

A fresh, zesty, delicious dish that is just perfect for springtime, the warm creamy ricotta melds very well with the green crunch of the courgette and the aromatic, flavoursome pesto 

You could use a knife to cut up the courgette ‘noodles’, but a spiraliser makes this much quicker and means that the ‘courgetti’ will cook evenly. We find the medium setting is best, the one that makes 3mm spaghetti-like spiral strands. 

The dried lemon powder is whole dried lemons which have been blitzed to make as fine a powder as possible. They are available from middle eastern stores – we head to the ones on London’s Edgeware Road to get ours, but they are available on line. Otherwise, use extra lemon zest

125g ricotta cheese
1 unwaxed lemon - half is zested and juiced, the other half is sliced as thinly as possible
1-2 teasp dried lemon powder (optional, but lovely) 
a good pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp runny honey
40g shelled pistachios
extra virgin olive oil
6 fresh mint leaves
6 fresh basil leaves
3 lemon balm leaves (optional)
2 medium courgettes

  • Pre heat the oven to 180C. Boil a full kettle 
  • Put the ricotta on to a baking tray, grate the zest of half a lemon over it, sprinkle the dried lemon powder (if using), the cayenne and drizzle over the honey. Bake for 15-20 minutes until toasted on top 
  • Meanwhile, put the pistachios into the oven to toast for 3-4 minutes, then remove
  • Heat a frying pan on a high heat, and thinly slice the other half of the unzested lemon, picking out and discarding any pips. Add a tablespoon of oil to the pan and fry the lemons until they are burnished and sticky 
  • Blitz the pistachios, with the basil, mint and lemon balm (if using), juice from the zested half lemon, a good pinch of salt, 3 tablespoons of olive oil. It will make a thick green pesto. Season well and set aside 
  • Slice or spiralise the courgettes. Place in a heatproof bowl and cover with the boiling water. Leave to sit for no more than 3 minutes, and drain, but take off a tablespoon of the courgette's cooking water before you drain it
  • Once the lemons are cool enough to handle, roughly chop them into small (0.5 cm) pieces 
  • Toss the courgetti in the pesto with the tablespoon of cooking water. Divide between two plates, sprinkle with half of the chopped lemon (add more to taste).  Check seasoning, and serve with the ricotta crumbled over the top