Recipe of the week: Summer courgetti and meatballs

Courgetti and meatballs.
Courgetti and meatballs.

Here is a fresh recipe for the summer - a dish with a real Italian feel.

Serves 4


400g lean mince

4 garlic cloves, 2 crushed, 2 left whole and unpeeled

2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for frying

400g cherry tomatoes

4 fat courgettes

zest of 1 lemon

50g pine nuts, toasted

large handful basil


Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Put the mince in a bowl, season well and add the crushed garlic.

Mix together with your hands, then shape into small meatballs – roughly the size of a cherry tomato.

Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large frying pan, add the meatballs and fry for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown.

Meanwhile, tip the tomatoes into a roasting tin with the whole garlic cloves and the remaining oil.

Season and roll around the tin until well coated in oil, then roast for 15 minutes.

While the meatballs and tomatoes cook, use a spiralizer – use the finer noodle attachment – or a cheese grater to grate the courgette noodles.

Once cooked, tip the meatballs into the roasting tin with the tomatoes, fish out the garlic and set aside, then cover the tin with foil to keep warm.

Wash the frying pan. Heat another one tablespoon of oil in the pan, squeeze the garlic doves from their skins into the pan and mash with a fork.

When sizzling, add the lemon zest and some seasoning.

Add the courgetti and toss in the pan for 30 seconds until warmed through – any longer and it will wilt.

Remove the pan from the heat, and tip in the meatballs, tomatoes and any juices from the tin.

Toss together and scatter with pine nuts and basil.

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The ex-professional footballer was nominated for the Small Business of the Year and Leisure Awards at the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards last year.

Graham won the Leisure Award at the North East Hotels Association Awards while working as gym manager at Seaham Hall in 2012.

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